In July 1791, officials at Pointe Coupée learned that the Mina slaves at their settlement were conspiring to revolt. The plan was to steal weapons from Jean Baptiste Tounoir’s storehouse, kill their masters, and claim their freedom.

The late 18th century proved to be a moment of intense revolutionary fervor throughout the Caribbean and the plantation region of North America. Point Coupée, Louisiana, had small, yet pivotal moments of revolt, revolution, and conspiracies for slave rebellion during this time period. In 1791, predating the slave uprising in Saint Domingue that would grow into the Haitian Revolution, slaves at Point Coupée post planned a rebellion against estate owners and the military fort. 

On Saturday, June 25th, 1791, a group of Mina slaves gathered for a dance in Jean-Louis’ cabin on the estate of widow Robillard[1]. Although the dance took place at Jean-Louis’ cabin, Jacó was named the “king” and host of the event. During the dance, Jacó told  Caesar (Zesar), an English creole slave, that it was necessary to rise up and kill the white settlers and masters[2]. Caesar had a plan to look for weapons and attack the storekeeper first to gain access to more arms[3,4].

The original plan was to rise up on the evening of Thursday, July 7th. But due to a communication failure with the Mina slaves at Pointe Coupée and inclement weather, they scheduled the uprising for two nights later: midnight on Saturday the 9th. That evening Jacó, a leader of the conspiracy, visited a slave named Venus, an Ado (another tribal affiliation than Mina), in her cabin on the Georges Oliveau estate[5]. Dique, also an Ado slave, was visiting Venus as well[6,7]. In an attempt to garner support and explain the planned uprising, Jacó brought Dique to his cabin Dique where the two of them discussed the change to the plan; now the uprising would take place on Saturday night[8]. If there hadn’t been bad weather on Thursday, all the whites would have already been killed. This attempt to enlist more slaves into the revolt the Friday night before ultimately marked the failure of the conspiracy. 

Ethnic tribal affiliation mattered on the plantations and estates. Dique and Venus were both Ado. Dique had told Venus earlier that evening that he had heard the Mina and Bambara slaves were planning an insurrection and they wanted him, Dique, to join. Venus, had warned Dique not to get involved with the Mina, because they were evil[9]. After their conversation, Venus went to visit her godmother, another slave on the Oliveau property, named Francoise. There she also found Francoise’s father and another slave. After hearing about what Jacó and the other Minas were planning from Venus, the group reported it to their master, Georges Oliveau[10]

When he heard about the conspiracy, the commandant of the Pointe Coupée post, Alexandre LeBlanc, ordered the militia to patrol the roads in search of the conspirators. They found Jacó armed, as well as Cofi, a slave owned by Hyacinthe Chustz[11]. LeBlanc arrested 17 slaves and sent them to a prison in New Orleans after the initial trial in 1791. Because most of the enslaved did not speak French Creole, their defense rested on the fact that they did not understand the trial questions and process. 

The 17 Mina slaves were held in New Orleans for over a year. In September of 1792, 4 interpreters translated during a second trial. Two were free Minas, Antonio Cofi and Juan Bautista. The other two spoke creole. During the second trial, the imprisoned slaves denied having any involvement in or plans for rebellion. In 1794, two years later, they were released from prison back to the plantation owners, many of whom were struggling financially and needed their slaves returned to work the fields. There was no resolution to the trial. The main outcome, however, was a new legal code for more “humane” treatment and control of the slave population. The hope was that better treatment around adequate food and clothing would deter any future slave revolts. 


[1]Declaration of Jean-Louis (July 12, 1791) p. 4-6

[2]Declaration of Jean-Louis (July 12, 1791) p. 5

[3]Declaration of Cofi [Christe] (July 12, 1791) p. 5 & 8

[4]Declaration of Jaco [Leblond] (July 12, 1791 p.5

[5]Declaration of Venus (July 9, 1791) p. 6

[6]Declaration of Dique (July 9, 1791) p. 3-4

[7]Declaration of Venus (July 9, 1791) p. 4

[8]Declaration of Dique (July 9, 1791)  p. 6-7

[9]Declaration of Dique (July 9, 1791) p. 4

[10]Declaration of Dique (July 9, 1791) p. 7; Declaration of Venus (July 9, 1791) p. 7

[11]Declaration of Cofi [Christe] (July 12, 1791) p. 3