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The urbanity of New Orleans after just ten years of existence is indicated by its possession of two institutions found in only a few French cities of the time: a botanical garden, founded by Alexandre Vielle, and an observatory, built by Pierre Baron. A few scientists, sent to Louisiana by the king or by the Company of the Indies, tried to create both scientific foundations in the colony and scientific relations with France. The difficulties that these enterprises encountered illustrate ancien régime France's limited capacity to create colonial cities that were other than trading posts focused on the immediate interests of the metropole. Their hardships show as well the inability of France under the Regency and in the reign of Louis XV to foster science during the Enlightenment.