The two major reasons that Andrew Jackson was able to defeat the British at the Battle of New Orleans was the bad luck and confusion of the British and the help of Jean Lafitte.
In the 1800’s Barataria was generally referred to that area south of New Orleans to the Barataria Bay, in the the Gulf of Mexico. It was a haven for pirates and smugglers because of the many bayous and waterways where they could hide. The most notable of these pirates was Jean Lafitte. We visited there and the town named after him.
Jean Lafitte was born in 1780 in the French colony of Saint-Domingue of French parents. He was a notorious pirate who operated in the Barataria Region. The locals liked him because he was able to provide them with goods they could not otherwise get because of the War of 1812.
On September 3, 1814, the British approached Lafitte and offered him riches if he would use his ships and men to help them against the United States. They thought he would help because the US Government was out to capture him and end his piracy operations. Instead, he relayed this offer to the Governor of Louisiana who informed the US Government who in turn sent Jackson to repel the British.
When Jackson arrived, he found he was way short of men and no supplies. Lafitte offered him his ships, guns, and men, which Jackson accepted. There is no record that Lafitte himself actually fought in the battle.
After Jackson’s victory, Lafitte and his men were pardoned of all crimes against the United States. However Lafitte continued his piracy. On February 5, 1823, Lafitte was wounded in a battle trying to take a Spanish ship. He died of his wounds and was buried at sea.