Patorni

François-Marie Patorni

There is a long and storied history of French people in New Mexico, including fur trappers and traders, Catholic priests, members of the De La Salle Christian Brothers teaching order, and the spouses and progeny of French explorers and settlers. Many New Mexico towns bear French names: Gascon in Mora County, Pendaries Village, a resort in San Miguel County, and Lamy in Santa Fe County, the namesake of Archbishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy, Santa Fe’s first bishop. Among Lamy’s 19th-century achievements were ordering the construction of a cathedral, now the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, and laying the foundation for education in New Mexico several decades before public schools were established. Lamy was famously fictionalized by Willa Cather in her 1927 novel, Death Comes for the Archbishop. Numerous amateur and scholarly nonfiction works detailing the influence of the French in the Land of Enchantment exist as well, including the 1884 publication Commerce of the Prairies: Or the Journal of a Santa Fe Trader by Josiah Gregg (reissued by Kessinger Publishing in 2006); Pedro Vial and the Roads to Santa Fe by Noel Loomis and Abraham P. Nasatir; and The Taos Trappers, The Fur Trade in the Far Southwest, 1540-1846 by David J. Weber. François-Marie Patorni, a Santa Fe resident and native Frenchman, hopes to add his manuscript, New Mexico: The French Since the 1500s, to the list. He presents a lecture, “The French in New Mexico,” which is based on research for the book, at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 13, as part of the Brainpower & Brownbags lunchtime series at the New Mexico History Museum (113 Lincoln Ave., 505-476-5200). The talk, in the Meem Community Room, is free. Information on Patorni’s research can be found on his website, www.newmexicofrenchhistory.com



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