My great-grandfather, Andrew Hero, arrived in New Orleans with his wife, Caroline Vail Gray from Gotteberg, Sweden in 1837. His family had been in the shipping business in Sweden, with ships that traded with Holland, England, France and Spain. It would not be surprising that Andrew would be multilingual.
Shortly after arriving in New Orleans, he became an active Notary Public. At this time the city had only 34 years ago passed from Spain to France to the U.S. in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The language of the French Quarter below the neutral ground of Canal, St. was French. Americans were populating the area above Canal St. Legal documents could be filed in either French or English (French was suppressed in schools after 1915). To search title abstracts going back to the 1700’s, a Notary would also have to read Spanish.
Andrew Hero’s first son, Andrew, Jr., became a notary also. His second son George, who was born in l854 would find easy entree into the New Orleans business community. Apparently George’s preferred language was English, but he married three French Creoles, Fenella and Anna Olivier and Claire Joubert de Villemarest Archinard, all three of prominent New Orleans French families.
In the later 1800’s George was an entrepreneur in the old sense, he was a gambler. Today, he probably would be classified as a speculator in commodity futures and options. It is reported that he came close to cornering the cotton market at one time. In any case he did very well. In a 1900 poster depicting New Orleans Men of Affairs, we find his portrait in the upper left corner. The poster hangs in Allen Hero’s office at this writing. One could expect that the opinions and proposals of a person in that group would get close attention from the business community.