ISABEAU, MICHEL-PHILIPPE, contractor for the construction of the citadel at Louisbourg, 1719–24; b. at Avesnes-sur-Helpe (Nord), son of Arnoud Isabeau; d. after 20 Nov. 1724 aboard the Victoire en route from Louisbourg to France.
Having visited Louisbourg in 1717, Isabeau contracted on 7 March 1719 to build the King’s Bastion and the citadel barracks according to Verville’s plans. He worked from the spring of 1720 until the autumn of 1724. Reports that his prices were higher than the average for the colony, that he claimed additional profits by exploiting loopholes in his contract, and that he trafficked in goods, especially drink, with the soldier-labourers he employed, were offset by Verville’s support, by the speed of his work during the fine summer of 1722, and by official displeasure with Jacques-Ange Le Normant* de Mézy, his chief critic.
After his death he was succeeded by François Ganet*. Investigation revealed neglect in the work, without establishing how much of it was Isabeau’s. Extensive repair to the fortifications was necessary; quantities of fill had to be removed; and, in part because of the vagueness of his contract, Isabeau owed the crown for supplies and labour. In 1731 the net balance payable to his sister, Madame Planton, and his other heirs was reckoned at some 9,400 livres.
AN, Col., B, 39, f.277v; 42, f.487; 44, f.566v; 48, f.925; 49, ff.697v, 703, 707–8v; 50, ff.586v, 597v–99; 54, f.520v; C11B, 4, ff.278–82; 5, ff.58–67v, 220–21v, 386–88, 420–22; 6, ff.127, 170–73v, 235–42v, 293–94v; 7, ff.12, 361–62, 370–72; 8, ff.8–20v, 215; 9, ff.231–50v; 10, ff.242–45; 12, ff.60–61v, 122–43; 13, f.106 et seq. McLennan, Louisbourg, 45, 55. [P. Mayrand, “La renaissance de Louisbourg,” Vie des Arts (Montréal), 46 (1967), 35.]