He was born in Rezé (near Nantes), France. He served in the French Navy, and was captured by the British in 1760 and taken to England. He escaped on board a West Indian merchantman to Saint-Domingue, from which he immigrated to New Orleans, Louisiana in 1768.
Poydras wrote the first poetry published in Louisiana in 1779. He was president of the first legislative council of the Territory of Orleans. He founded the Female Orphan Asylum in New Orleans, and was elected to the House, serving from March 4, 1809 - March 3, 1811. He was the president of the first state Constitutional Convention. He founded and endowed the Poydras Asylum, and died in Pointe Coupee, Louisiana. He was originally interred in Old St. Francis Cemetery, then he was reinterred on the grounds of the Poydras High School, New Roads, Louisiana. OBITUARY of Julien Poydras 1824 , on the 25th of June, at Point Coupee, Louisiana; JULIEN POYDRAS, esq. Mr. P. was a man of very large fortune, and magnificent disposition. He was the' first Delegate in Congress, from the territory of Orleans. The act, which no doubt will do most honour to his memory, is the foundation of the Female Orphan Asylum, to which he devoted £100,000. Long after many celebrated names shall have been sunk in oblivion, the name of Julien Poydras will be remembered by the innocent creatures who, by his wise providence and humanity, shall have been sheltered against the misfortune and danger which result from misery, for a weak defenceless sex. By his will he left for a college at Point Coupee, 20,000 dollars. For marriage portions to poor girls of said parish, 30,000 dollars. To each of his god-sons and goddaughters, 5,000 dollars. For marriage portions to poor girls of the parish of West Baton Rouge, 30,000 dollars. To the Charity Hospital of New Orleans, his bouse on the Levee, between St. Lours and Cenli streets, and his house in Bourbon street. To the Poydras Female Asylum, all his houses in Poydras street, and on the Batture. The remainder of his fortune goes to his family with the exception of some legacies to his friends. In Ponte Coupee the legacy has been diverted to edu- cational purposes, but in West Baton Rouge it continues in its original use. Poydras himself was a bachelor. It is said that when he came to Louisiana he owned little more than the pack on his back and, as the girl he loved was too poor to furnish a dowry, it was impossible for them to marry.
One of the main streets of the New Orleans Central Business District is named Poydras Street in his honor. |}