Laffite Society seminar to highlight historical era

The second annual Laffite Seminar will be April 26 on the George Mitchell Pelican Island campus.

Courtesy illustration

GALVESTON — Texas A&M University at Galveston will host the second annual Laffite Seminar on April 26 on the George Mitchell Pelican Island campus.

A welcome reception will be held at the historic Trolley Station on The Strand the evening before.

The time period covered by the seminar will be the final years of Mexico’s struggle for independence from Spain.

It was during this period that Galveston Island, with Jean Laffite as self-appointed governor, was bustling with activity.

Not only were Laffite and his captains plundering ships at sea, but exciting activity was taking place on the Island itself.

The seminar will consist of six presentations each followed by a question-and-answer session.

The Laffite Society’s past President Jeff Modzelewski will open the presentations with “Laffite 101,” a brief review and time line of the careers of Jean and Pierre Laffite.

Andrew J. Torget, a historian of 19th century America at the University of North Texas, will discuss how, during a time of changing anti-slavery laws, James Bowie and Jean Laffite schemed to form an unlikely business partnership.

Marine archeologist and author Andrew Hall will describe how a growing U.S. Navy was working to end piracy and privateering in the Gulf of Mexico. This effort led to Laffite’s departure from Galveston Island.

Some families living in the Galveston Bay area will be particularly excited to hear Lou Graves Macbeth speak about “The Crew Left Behind” concerning crew members who remained to begin family life on the mainland when Laffite sailed away.

The daylong seminar will include breakfast and lunch. Details for registration can be obtained by visiting or by emailing

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