In my first few years here I recorded a number of conversations with my great aunt Ann Laudun Mayfield. Aunt Ann had an amazing memory and she seemed to have had in her youth a keen sense for her elders who had similar memories. Now and then I want to add to the general knowledge about the Laudun family — and other families that compose my own current one — and so I thought I would begin with a description of the first Laudun in the historical record, the mysterious M. De Vallette Laudun, whose journal is remarkable for being [one of nineteen travel journals][wiki] from the eighteenth century to have survived. The Historic New Orleans collections describes it as follows:
> *Journal d’un voyage fait a la Louisiane en 1720* is a rare account of a French scientific expedition to Louisiana, the French West Indies, and the Gulf of Mexico. M. de Vallette Laudun, com- mander of the Toulouse, which sailed from Toulon in March 1720 and reached Dauphin Island by early July, composed this series of 132 letters written to an unnamed French lady. Vallette Laudun led the first detailed survey made of Louisiana by the French government, three years after the founding of New Orleans and at the height of public enthusiasm for John Law’s Company of the Indies. In his letters, Vallette Laudun recently acquired by The Collection appeared in 1768 as a response to the Treaty of Paris (which gave Spain con- trol of Louisiana), a reminder to its readers of the possessions the French were conceding. (2009.0053) [*HNOC Quarterly*][hnoc]
The [full text of the original], in its native French, is available from Google Books.