Dominique Youx (Patriot and Pirate)
Born Frederic You or Youx, he was a privateer, soldier, and politician. According to information he provided to his masonic lodge in New Orleans, he was born in Cette (now spelled Sète) in Languedoc, France. According to the “Diary of Jean Laffite”, he was Alexander Lafitte (the older brother of Pierre and Jean Lafitte). He served as an artilleryman in the French Revolutionary Army under Napoleon. In 1802 he accompanied General Charles Leclerc’s expedition to quell Toussaint Louverture’s Haitian Revolution. He later reached Louisiana and appears to have joined Jean Lafitte and Pierre Lafitte. He became the captain of the pirate ship Le Pandoure. He was nicknamed “Captain Dominique” by the French and “Johnness” by the Americans. He acquired a reputation for being very bold and daring.
Pierre and Jean Lafitte, with brother Alexander (Frederic “Dominique” Youx)
During the next few years, he and the Lafitte brothers became successful smugglers in the Louisiana bayous. As pirates, they preyed on Spanish ships in the Gulf of Mexico, doing extensive damage to Spanish commerce. From 1804, the governor of newly American Louisiana (or “the Territory of Orleans”), William C. C. Claiborne, was making efforts to suppress piracy. In July 1814, Dominique You was publicly identified as a pirate. In September 1814, he was in a pirate camp at Barataria Bay when it was captured by American forces, but he escaped to the swamps.
Soon, however, in the context of the ongoing War of 1812, Jean Lafitte had the opportunity to offer to help General Andrew Jackson defend New Orleans against the impending British invasion, in exchange for a pardon for him and his pirate crews. Jackson accepted this offer, and You was appointed commander of a company of artillery which was composed of the Baratarians’ best gunners. The pirates fought particularly well in the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815, and were mentioned in Major General Andrew Jackson’s general order of January 21 for having shown uncommon gallantry and skill in the field. The General reportedly said that “Were I ordered to storm the gates of Hell, with Dominique You as my lieutenant, I would have no misgivings.” As a result of this success, the charges against the Baratarians and Dominique You were dropped.
After the battle, You settled in New Orleans where he became involved in politics as a partisan of Andrew Jackson. You died on 15 Nov 1830 at his residence at the corner of Love and Mandeville Streets at the age of 55 years in a state of poverty bordering on penury. The City Council of New Orleans resolved to pay the debt of gratitude which this country owed him and ordered extensive preparations for his interment including a military funeral at public expense.
From a newspaper article on the anniversary of his death many decades later:
“When Dominique You died, he had such a funeral as no one had had before in New Orleans. The entire Legion [an organization of the Orleans Artillery, of which Dominique You had been a founder] shouldered their arms to render him military honors and an immense crowd of citizens accompanied his body to its last resting place. He sleeps in a plain brick tomb not far from Gen. Plauche, in the ancient St. Louis No. 2.”
The grave inscription in French reads “Intrpide guerrier, sur la terre et sur l’onde, Il sut, dans cent combats, signaler sa valeur Et ce nouveau Bayard, sans reproche et sans peur Aurait pu sans trembler, voir s’crouler le monde.” In English it reads “Intrepid warrior on land and sea. In a hundred combats showed his valor. This new Bayard without reproach or fear could have witnessed the ending of the world without trembling.” His grave bears a Freemasonic symbol.
The Krewe of Dominique Youx (KODY) is proud to use the name of this historic buccaneer to promote the carnival spirit of Mardi Gras for the enjoyment of the people of Bay County. According to custom, Shrove Tuesday (“Fat Tuesday” to the English-speaking settlers – “Mardi Gras” to the French) is the last day to indulge, or overindulge, before Lent and its 40 days of fasting. The celebrations that take place before Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Mobile, and Galveston set off a carnival season that is notorious. Laissez les bons temps rouler … means “Let the Good Times Roll” in French. And the KODY does just that! We are Bay County’s original Mardi Gras organization, founded in 1986 on Panama City Beach by Errol Legasse and Jerry Castardo. We have grown over the last 35 years, with membership approaching 185 Pirates (& their ladies). We now have a new dedicated storage facility where we keep our 8 floats, and hold parties & meetings. We enjoy the glamour, spectacle, and pageantry that surround the Mardi Gras celebration. Pirates dressed in colorful costumes ride our large floats in numerous parades both locally and across the Florida Panhandle.
OLDEST VERSION OF OUR LOGO
NEWER VERSION OF OUR LOGO
MODERN LOGO FOR KODY
The Krewe holds four major events each year, and we host or participate in a number of other events, as well. For a complete list of events, please take a look at our “calendar” page. We lead off with our Mardi Gras Ball. This is usually in February, but it depends on when Easter falls each year (because Fat Tuesday is always the last day before Lent begins). This is a formal event where all Pirates come fully costumed with their ladies in their finest evening gowns to witness the coronation of the new King, Queen and their Court of Pirates and Princesses for the following year. After the ceremonies, a band will get the dance floor jumping, and a late-night breakfast rounds out the evening. Not long after the ball, we host a Mardi Gras festival weekend and parade at Pier Park. Our masked marauders invade the beach for family friendly events, and we host a tailgate party before the parade to entertain visiting krewes. All members wear masks and costumes on our fleet of floats, and we throw beads to revelers throughout Pier Park. In August, we host our Dominique Youx Ball. This black-tie event includes dinner and dancing, and we present a local, non-member dignitary with the “Baratarian Cup”, a Mardi Gras honor unique to Panama City. The honoree serves as Grand Marshall for the next year’s parade. Our final major event is our newest, the Pirates of the High Seas Festival, held over Columbus Day weekend at Pier Park. This family-friendly, pirate themed event includes a parade, fireworks, a concert, and plenty of other festivities for thirsty, fun-loving buccaneers.
The Krewe of Dominique Youx is a self-financing operation, paying for its own equipment, floats, costumes, as well as the beads and doubloons thrown to the parade watchers. Most of our revenue is provided by annual member dues. We are proud partners with the Panama City Beach’s TDC (Tourist Development Council) as well, receiving their support to promote visitors to Bay County. We coordinate with other local krewes, including one of the larger ones (the Krewe of St Andrews), scheduling mutually supporting events such as parades & balls. And we have formal agreements of mutual participation with out-of-town krewes such as the Krewe of Lafitte (Pensacola), The Krewe of Bowlegs (Ft. Walton Beach), and Springtime Tallahassee. Leadership from our Krewe participates in their parades & balls every year as scheduling allows. And their members attend many of our events. It really adds to the fun and pageantry of all Pirating adventures in the Florida Panhandle. Hopefully, you’ll want to travel with us for some of these events. Parading & Peacocking in your hometown is fun; doing it out-of-town adds that historic, tourist twist to it.