Henry Thibodaux served as interim governor of Louisiana from November to December 1824 after his predecessor, Thomas Bolling Robertson, resigned to become a federal judge. A native of New York, he was the fourth governor of Louisiana after it achieved statehood. He also founded the city of Thibodaux, which is named after him.
Born in Albany, New York, in 1769, Henry Schuyler Thibodaux was the son of Alexis Thibodaux, a French Canadian, and Anna Blanchard Thibodaux. Orphaned at an early age, he was raised in the family of General Philip Schuyler and educated in Scotland. He immigrated to Louisiana—then a Spanish colony—shortly after 1790. Soon after his arrival, Thibodaux moved to the Bayou Lafourche area. On May 7, 1793, he married Félicité Bonvillain of the First Acadian Coast (now St. James Parish). After her death, he married Bridgette Bellanger.
Though Thibodaux modestly identified himself as a “poor shoemaker,” members of the community soon recognized him as an important leader in the region that eventually became Terrebonne, Assumption, and Lafourche parishes. Thibodaux’s political career advanced with his election to the legislature of the Territory of Orleans in 1805. He became justice of the peace for Lafourche Parish in 1808 and a delegate to the state constitutional convention of 1812. He served as state senator from 1812 until 1824, when he was elected president of the Senate. As such he automatically succeeded Thomas Bolling Robertson when Robertson resigned a month short of completing his governorship. Thibodaux stepped down after the election of Henry S. Johnson in 1824.
In 1828 Thibodaux ran for governor on his own merits. While campaigning near Bayou Terrebonne, he died from an abscessed liver on October 24 and was interred in St. Bridget’s Church Cemetery in Shriever.
Adapted from Joseph G. Tregle’s entry for the Dictionary of Louisiana Biography, a publication of the Louisiana Historical Association in cooperation with the Center for Louisiana Studies at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. http://www.lahistory.orgAuthor: Joseph G. Tregle Jr.
Cite this entry
Chicago Manual of Style
Tregle Jr., Joseph G. "Henry Thibodaux." In knowlouisiana.org Encyclopedia of Louisiana, edited by David Johnson. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 2010–. Article published August 24, 2011. http://www.knowlouisiana.org/entry/henry-thibodaux.
Tregle Jr., Joseph G. "Henry Thibodaux" knowlouisiana.org Encyclopedia of Louisiana. Ed. David Johnson. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 24 Aug 2011. Web. 29 May 2017.
Cowan, Walter Grieves and Jack McGuire. Louisiana Governors: Rulers, Rascals, and Reformers. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2008.
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