As the first mayor of New Orleans, James Pitot has had a major influence on the culture and history of the city. Born in 1750 in France, he arrived in Louisiana at the invitation of Governor Bienville and served as an engineer and surveyor for many years. In 1803, Pitot was appointed Mayor of New Orleans and subsequently played a major role in developing the city’s infrastructure, most notably overseeing its first waterworks system.
During his tenure as mayor from 1805-1812, New Orleans developed into one of the most important American cities. He helped to establish street lights and improve sanitation services, supervised road construction projects, and helped to create both a police force and fire department. His work with entrepreneurs also made it possible for small businesses to thrive in the area.
Pitot’s legacy can still be seen today in several locations around town, including Pitot House which is now a museum dedicated to celebrating his life and accomplishments. Additionally, two street names—one located by the French Quarter and another located by City Park—bear his name as well.