Mutinous Women: How French Convicts Became Founding Mothers of the Gulf Coast

In October 1719, two hundred female inmates were taken from a Parisian prison in chains.  Most had been falsely charged with “public prostitution,” an accusation based on mere hearsay and in no way corroborated by hard evidence.  The prisoners were summarily sentenced to lifetime exile and quickly transported to the Gulf Coast aboard a ship named La Mutine, or “the Mutinous Woman.”  There, the women helped found the city of New Orleans and other settlements throughout the vast territory the French knew as “Louisiana.”  They also founded dynasties, many of which are still thriving today.

Joan DeJean and Kathleen DuVal will discuss Joan’s recent book, Mutinous Women: How French Convicts Became Founding Mothers of the Gulf Coast, and present the experiences of some of this country’s early European female colonists.

Read Kathleen DuVal’s review of Mutinous Women from the Wall Street Journal (April, 2022)

Purchase a copy of the book.

Joan DeJean is Trustee Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of twelve books on French history, literature, and material culture of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including “The Invention of Paris: Making the City Modern”; “The Age of Comfort”;“The Essence of Style” and most recently, “Mutinous Women: How French Convicts Became Founding Mothers of the Gulf Coast.”

Kathleen DuVal is a professor in the History Department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is the author of Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution (Random House, 2015) and The Native Ground: Indians and Colonists in the Heart of the Continent (Penn Press, 2006) and co-author of Give Me Liberty: An American History (7th ed., Norton, 2022) and Interpreting a Continent: Voices from Colonial America (Rowman and Littlefield, 2009). She is currently completing a book on Native North America from the eleventh to nineteenth centuries with the help of a Guggenheim Fellowship.

This is a virtual event.


Feb 06 2023


6:00 pm - 8:00 pm



More Info



219 S. 6th Street Philadelphia, PA, PA 19106-3794 United States


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