La Nouvelle-Orléans (New Orleans) was founded May 7, 1718, by the French Mississippi Company, under the direction of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, on land inhabited by the Chitimacha. It was named for Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, who was Regent of France at the time. ... The site was selected because it was a rare bit of natural high ground along the flood-prone banks of the lower Mississippi, and was adjacent to the trading route and portage between the Mississippi and Lake Pontchartrain via Bayou St. John. It was, from this founding, intended to be an important colonial city. The city was named in honor of the then Regent of France, Philip II, Duke of Orléans. The priest-chronicler Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix described it in 1721 as a place of a hundred wretched hovels in a malarious wet thicket of willows and dwarf palmettos, infested by serpents and alligators; he seems to have been the first, however, to predict for it an imperial future. In 1722 Nouvelle-Orléans was made the capital of French Louisiana, replacing Biloxi in that role.