John Slidell was an American politician and diplomat. Born in New York City in 1793, he later moved to New Orleans, where he practiced law from 1819 to 1835. He married Mathilde Deslonde, a member of a respected family. A member of the state House of Representatives, John Slidell unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 1828, but held the office of U.S. District Attorney from 1829-1833. He was then elected as States Rights Democrat to the 28th and 29th U.S> Congress and served from March 4, 1843 until his resignation on November 10, 1845. In 1850, Slidell was elected to the U.S. Senate. He was reelected in 1853 and became a major influence in the administration of President James Buchanan. At one point, he was known as "the most powerful man in the United States"Upon Louisiana's secession from the Union, Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed Slidell as a special envoy to France with a mission of seeking diplomatic assistance and procuring war resources. While on his mission, Slidell was taken from the RMS Trent, which was seized by the U.S. After his release, he arrived in Paris in January 1862. Through the banking house of Baron Emile Erlanger, Slidell arranged a major bond issue for the Confederacy. He remained in Europe after the Civil WAr. He died on July 29, 1871, in Cowes, Isle of Wight, England.In the course of
Slidell's diplomatic and banking transactions, his daughter Mathilde met and married Baron Emile Erlanger's son, Frederick. Frederick Erlanger succeeded his father as Baron and participated in building the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad. He named the first settlement in honor of his father-in-law, John Slidell.