Southeastern Investigator writes book on Battle of New Orleans | Business
O’Neil De Noux, author of numerous police and mystery novels and short stories, has written an extensively-researched story of love and war that takes place at the Battle of New Orleans.
Entitled “Battle Kiss,” the 320,000 word historical novel incorporates three points of view reflecting the thoughts and actions of the British invaders and the Americans and Creoles who stood up to their assault in the fields of what is now Chalmette, La. His narrative centers on the lives of two young Creole women and the men who loved them.
An investigator with the Southeastern Louisiana University Police Department, De Noux lived for 10 years near the battlefield and became fascinated with the Battle of New Orleans. With a Career Advancement Award from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, he began researching the epic battle from various points of view, accumulating more than 72,000 words of notes before he began writing the novel.
The Battle of New Orleans, an event that concluded the War of 1812 with a disaster for the British military, celebrates its 200th anniversary in January 2015. The battle was the last time the two nations would meet in war.
De Noux blames the British loss in large part on the actions of the Royal Navy. Vice Admiral Alexander Forester Cochrane devised a plan to capture New Orleans in the waning weeks of the war with the intent of plundering the city’s warehouses filled with commodities, as well as the banks enriched with Creole gold and silver. Cochrane believed the city was largely undefended, would be easy to capture and would give the British control of the Mississippi River.
Rather than waiting for field commander Gen. Edward Pakenham, Cochrane took Pakenham’s army that was assembling in Jamaica to New Orleans where he tried a direct attack through the swamps south of city. While the British managed to surprise the out-numbered troops commanded by Gen. Andrew Jackson, they were exhausted by the ordeal of struggling through the swamp and their advance was held in check by Jackson. When Pakenham arrived on Christmas day, 1814, he found a dispirited army on the verge of collapse, while facing a strongly fortified American position that he would have to attack head-on across flat land.
De Noux explains that artillery eventually won the day, as superior American cannoneers – which included Baratarian pirates and gunners from the U.S. Army and Navy – devastated the advancing British army on Jan. 8, 1815. The British suffered over 2,000 casualties compared to only eight Americans killed. Pakenham and his best friend, Gen. Samuel Gibbs, were slain, and their bodies sent home in casks of rum.
“Battle Kiss” details the build-up to the battle from the American and British points of view and includes a stark, blow-by-blow account of the climactic battle. While the Americans are clearly the heroes of the story, De Noux expresses some sympathy for the British.
“I see Gen. Pakenham as a tragic hero caught in events beyond his control,” he said, “and the young British soldiers who marched across a field of fire as incredibly brave.”
A resident of Covington and a former homicide detective and criminal intelligence analyst, De Noux is the author of eight novels and eight short story collections. The cover painting was done by his daughter, Dana De Noux, a junior art major studying at Southeastern. Published by Big Kiss Productions, “Battle Kiss” is available through Amazon.com.
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