Llulla Obituary

Post date: Jul 21, 2010 3:30:04 AM

I'm moving a few things from my inactive blog onto this site. First up:

I present here the remarkable obituary of Senor Don Jose "Pepe" LLulla from the Daily Picayune, Wednesday, March 7, 1888 (p.4). I did my best transcribing it - the microfiche copies are not the best. (Thanks to Pete Kautz for the picture of Senor Don Llulla)

“Pepe” Llulla, Dead.

Senor Don Jose Llulla or Pepe Llulla, as he was affectionately styled by his fiends, yesterday morning at 11’oclock passed to the world beyond, after an eventful and stormy life.

About a week ago he came on a visit to New Orleans from his island home on Grande Terre, and on Sunday was taken ill. He gradually grew worse and finally peacefully passed away.

It would be a difficult task here to give anything more than a brief outline of the career of this really extraordinary character, who won his way to fortune and fame by rare energy and intrepidity. While comparatively few were intimate with him, for he was a reserved man, there is scarcely a citizen who did not know him by name. This had become legendary even in his lifetime.

A native or Port Mahone, Minorca, where he was born in 1815, his imagination was greatly impressed during early boyhood by the recitals of sailors who used to visit his father’s home. His passion for the sea was gratified when his parents allowed him to ship as a cabin boy. He soon after became a common seaman, and finally entered the service of some merchant whose vessels plied between New Orleans andHavana.

He soon after abandoned seafaring and settled in the Crescent City, with a Spaniard, who conducted a sailors’ boardinghouse. Here Pepe soon became a consummate master in the use of the knife, and after visiting the fencing schools of New Orleans became astonishingly proficient with the foil and saber.

In those days there were a large number of maitres d’armes in the city, where the passions of society we regulated if not restrained by the duel, and Llulla became the protégé of L’Alouette, an Alsatian, who appointed him as his assistant. The young Spaniard became a master of all kinds of blades and with the firearm his skill was no less remarkable. When L’Alouette died Llulla succeeded him as teacher in the fencing hall. This was a paying business in those days, but the profession did not suit Llulla’s energetic character. He preferred to do business on his own account. Few men have attempted as many different things as he has with equal success.

After embarking on various enterprises he purchased the LouisaCemetery. By this time he had accumulated a capital of several hundred thousand dollars. In later days he bought two adjoining squares and also converted them into cemeteries. Three cities of the dead are today filled with the monuments and tombs erected by persons who purchased lots therein. Another undertaking worthy of mention was the purchase of the Island of Grande Terre which he made shortly after the war. Here, on this wild windswept place, Llulla met with great success in raising cattle. About four years ago, however, a storm swept over the island and the owner lost 100 head of cattle and about 500 sheep. He improved the place afterwards and no longer feared the elements.

During half a century Llulla was the confidant and trainer of New Orleans duelists, and figured as second in more that a hundred encounters. His formidable reputation as an expert did not save him from the necessity of having some twenty or more affairs of his own.Since the war Llulla had no personal difficulties except those assumed in the cause of Spanish patriotism. These affairs made him famous and form the most interesting incidents of his singular career. In 1853 he took up the cause of Spain in his own person and challenged all Cuban revolutionaries. These challenges were accepted by a number, who, upon knowing the character of Llulla, failed to come to term (note: last word unreadable- “term” is my best guess).

The Cuban emissaries and others fared no better in 1869. An Austrian officer, Meyer, who has served under Maximillian in Mexico and subsequently entered the Cuban revolutionary service, met Llulla on the field of honor with pistols, the conditions being at thirty paces, to advance and fire at will. His fate probably deterred others from following his example.

“Pepe” Llulla’s courage, daring and patriotism met with congratulations and salutations from the home country and from the colonies. Among the many missives which reached the valiant Spaniard was one fromMadrid, sealed with the royal seal and inclosing the gold cross of the Order of Charles III and a document conferring knighthood upon the gallant son who had fought so well for Spain. A reward which Llulla appreciated more than all was a portrait of himself, in a wreath of laurel, worked in the silk of woman’s hair, the jet black hair of Spanish ladies who had cut off their tresses to wreath his portrait with.

In his last days “Pepe” Llulla led the modest and retired life, though he had not lost any of his courage and valor. He preferred the quiet and solitude of Grande Terre to the noisy and lively streets of the CrescentCity. He recently purchased a large tract of land in Cheniere Caminada(sp?) and contemplated the formation of a vast orange grove.

The deceased leaves a daughter and son in law, Mr. Vincent Suarez, the latter being the sexton of the cemeteries on Louisia street. He also leaves an aged brother.

The funeral will take place at 4 o’clock this evening from No. 42 Independence Street, Third district.