"The first notice of the western boundary of Louisiana, of any authority, is in the grant made, September 17, 1712, by Louis XIV to Crozat. This grant empowered him 'to carry on exclusively the trade in all our territories by us possessed and bounded by New Mexico, and by those of the English in Carolina; all the establishments, ports, harbours, rivers, and especially the port and harbour of DAUPHIN ISLAND, formerly called Massacre Island ; the River St Louis, formerly called the Mississippi, from the sea-shore to the Illinois ; together with the River St Philip, formerly called the Missouri River, and the St Jerome, formerly called the Wabash (the Ohio), with all the countries, territories, lakes inland, and the rivers emptying themselves directly or indirectly into that part of the river St. Louis. All the said territories, countries, streams, and islands, we will to be and remain comprised under the name of 'The Government of Louisiana,' which shall be dependent on the general government of New France, and remain subordinate to it; and we will, moreover, that all the territories which we possess on this side of the Illinois be united, as far as need be, to the general government of New France, and form a part thereof, reserving to ourselves to increase, if we think proper, the extent of the government of the said country of Louisiana.' "
"This document defined with tolerable precision the province of Louisiana. It was partly bounded on the west by New Mexico ; it did not extend beyond the Rocky Mountains, for the rivers emptying themselves into the Mississippi have their sources on the east side of these mountains, and it was to reach the Illinois to the north. It was also declared that the government should be dependent on the general government of New France — that was, subject to the superior authority of the Governor of Canada."
from BOUNDARIES OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE SEVERAL STATES BY FRANKLIN K. VAN ZANDT, 1966
The entire basin of the Mississippi and its tributaries, and much of the coast region of the Gulf of Mexico which were subsequently known as the Territory of Louisiana, were originally claimed by La Salle in 1682 for France by virtue of discovery and occupation. The area claimed on the Gulf extended west and south to the mouth of the 'Rio de las Palmas,' which was probably the stream now known as the Rio Grande. In 1712, France made a grant to Antoine de Crozat of the exclusive right to the trade of this region. Because this grant gives the limits of the vast region as they were understood by France, a part of it is here quoted: 'We have by these presents signed with our hand, authorized, and do authorize the said Sieur Crozat to carry on exclusively the trade in all the territories by us possessed, and bounded by New Mexico and by those of the English in Carolina, all the establishments, ports, harbors, rivers, and especially the port and harbor of DAUPHIN ISLAND, formerly called Massacre Island, the river St. Louis, formerly called the Mississippi, from the seashore to the Illinois, together with the river St. Philip, formerly called the Missouries River, and the St. Jerome formerly called the Wabash [the Ohio], with all the countries, territories, lakes in the land, and the rivers emptying directly or indirectly into that part of the river St. Louis. All the said territories, countries, rivers, streams, and islands we will to be and remain comprised under the name of the government of Louisiana, which shall be dependent on the General Government of New France and remain subordinate to it, and we will, moreover, that all the territories which we possess on this side of the Illinois be united, as far as need be, to the General Government of New France and form a part thereof, reserving to ourself, nevertheless, to increase, if we judge proper, the extent of the government of the said country of Louisiana.'
This document indicates that France regarded Louisiana as comprising the drainage basin of the Mississippi at least as far north as the mouth of the Illinois and those branches of the Mississippi that enter it be low this point, including the Missouri, but excluding land in the Southwest claimed by Spain. It is, more over, certain that the area now comprised in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho was not included. Crozat surrendered this grant in 1717."
Baron Marc de Villiers.
A History of the Foundation of New Orleans (1717-1722).
LATITUDE must be allowed in the use of the term foundation, when speaking of New Orleans. According to the interpretation given, the date may be made to vary by six years, or even much more.
Since time immemorial, the present site of Louisiana’s capital had been a camping-ground for Indians going from the Mississippi to the mouth of the Mobile River. As soon as the French had settled on Massacre Island, that site became the customary landing-place for travellers on the Father of Waters. Wherefore the history of New Orleans might be said to date from the winter of 1715-1716, when Crozat demanded that a post be founded where the city now stands; or even from 1702, in which year M. de Remonville proposed the creation of an establishment “at the Mississippi Portage.”
And yet, a lapse of fifteen years, which might be almost qualified as proto-historic, put a check upon the Colony’s development. Then Bienville revived Remonville’s project. The Marine Board at last harkened to reason, and, in concert with the Company of the West, appointed, on the 1st of October, 1717, a cashier in New Orleans.
Land was not broken, however, until the end of March, 1718. Even then, work progressed slowly, owing to the hostility of settlers along the coast.