"Hey, out there in the swamp…what is that? It looks like a light, and it’s moving!"
"Don’t go out there – it’s dark and it’s dangerous! You can get sucked down in quicksand. You could be lured off the path and fall in the water and get eaten by an alligator. That light could be a ghost - I’ve heard stories about pirate ghosts guarding buried treasure!"
"Buried treasure?! Let’s go!!"
Oooooh, the Louisiana swamps and bayous - they're dark and mysterious! Sometimes people really do fall in, get eaten, or disappear forever, and who knows...maybe in there somewhere is buried treasure and the ghosts of murdered pirates who guard it. For sure there've been pirates.
One of the last to plunder the Caribbean Sea appeared in the early 1800s, right after the Louisiana Purchase: the pirate, Jean Lafitte. The Caribbean was then the center of European trade and colonization, and New Orleans, LA, was one of its richest port cities. Jean and his brother, Pierre, owned a local blacksmith shop there, but they soon became famous as pirates and privateers, and expert navigators of the swamps and bayous of Barataria Bay There they even created their own kingdom, Barataria, to hide the gold, silver, slaves, and and other booty plundered from unwary Spanish treasure ships.
Today you can visit Jean Lafitte's blacksmith shop and Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in New Orleans, and even the ruins of Jean Lafitte's home and other locations associated with him in Galveston, where he fled after being forced out of New Orleans. Nobody quite knows where Lafitte came from, and he later vanished from Galveston. Curious, but, heck - what we really want to know is what happened to his treasure! The exploits of pirates like Lafitte have inspired literature, movies, theater, and lots of legends about buried treasure, but is there any? Where?
Literature Live! got excited about one treasure legend, the fifolet. Fifolet are ghostly swamp lights, rumored in the Louisiana bayous to be the spirits of pirates killed by Jean Lafitte to forever guard his treasure. Find out what happens when little Jolie, running into the swamp to escape her mean caretaker, meets the dead pirate Percival in The Fifolet (trailer), a 5-show run for kids 8 and up (be warned - there's murder and mayhem!). For younger kids who love pirates, join us instead for our summer Pirate and Princess Parties.
A special note about The Fifolet: the music for our show was created through a unique collaboration with Austin Classical Guitar and will be performed live!
Lafitte's treasure was also rumored to be buried on Galveston Island. Here's a fascinating 5-minute video about that:
Check out some of APL's own fabulous treasure trove of books and materials about pirates here, and remember - don't go into that swamp!