A native of Meudon, France, Marc-Antoine Caillot (1707–1758) received his commission as a bookkeeping clerk with the French Company of the Indies in 1728. His 1729 Atlantic crossing was a first for this twenty-one-year-old son of a royal footman. Caillot spent two years in New Orleans and returned to France in 1731. Manuscript notations suggest that he likely began writing his memoir while residing in Louisiana; he seems to have finished his account before accepting a new overseas commission, to Pondicherry (now Puducherry), India, in 1732. He acquired a sizeable personal fortune as he ascended through company ranks, and he married twice and had one child, a daughter named Marie-Madeleine. After traveling the globe for nearly thirty years as a company employee, Caillot died in a shipwreck on February 24, 1758.
Erin M. Greenwald is curator and historian at The Historic New Orleans Collection. Since joining The Collection in 2007, she has edited numerous exhibition catalogues and a book, In Search of Julien Hudson: Free Artist of Color in Pre−Civil War New Orleans, for which she also wrote the introduction. She is currently working on a book about the history of the French Company of the Indies in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean Worlds, and on an exhibition entitled Pipe Dreams: Louisiana under the French Company of the Indies, 1717−1731. She received her PhD in History from the Ohio State University.
Teri F. Chalmers is a translator of French and Italian and a former professor of the practice in Tulane University’s Department of French and Italian. She has translated articles for Bonsai magazine and essays for Cambridge University Press, and has worked with The Historic New Orleans Collection since 2006. Chalmers earned a BA in Italian and linguistics from Newcomb College, an MA in Italian from UCLA, and a PhD in medieval Romance languages and literatures, with a concentration in French, from Tulane University. She also studied in France at the Université de Strasbourg, and in Italy at the Università degli Studi in Florence.