DOUAY, ANASTASE (?–?). Anastase Douay, a Recollect friar with the La Salle expedition (1684), is said by Louis Hennepin to have been a native of Quesnoy, in the Hainaut region of northern France. Douay had never been to America until he accompanied La Salle on his voyage to the Gulf of Mexico. He was eyewitness to La Salle's murder, of which he tells in his often biased account of his two journeys from Fort St. Louis to eastern Texas in 1686 and 1687. Despite its flaws, Douay's narrative is the only account of La Salle's first eastern journey, which lasted from mid-April to late August 1686 and reached the habitations of the “Cenis” (Hasinai, or Tejas) Indians. It therefore is a valuable historical source, even if “not noted for strict adherence to the truth.”
As one of the seventeen who set out again from the Texas Fort St. Louis in January 1687 hoping to reach Fort St. Louis of the Illinois, Douay continued his narrative. His account affords an interesting comparison to those of Jean Cavelier and Henri Joutel,qqv who were also on the journey. Douay claimed that his intention was to remain among the East Texas natives to begin a mission; he expected the other Recollects from the settlement on Lavaca Bay, Zénobe Membré and Maxime Le Clercq, to join him there later, with other clerics to be sent from France. The events that followed aborted such plans.