In 1812, Lafitte and his men began holding auctions at the Temple, a prehistoric memorial earthwork mound halfway between Grande Terre and New Orleans.In January 1813 they took their first prize, a Spanish hermaphrodite brig loaded with 77 slaves.
By 1810, their new port was very successful; the Lafittes pursued a successful smuggling operation and also started to engage in piracy.
Though Lafitte warned the other Baratarians of a possible military attack on their base of operations, an American naval force successfully invaded in September 1814 and captured most of Lafitte's fleet.
By 1805, he operated a warehouse in New Orleans to help disperse the goods smuggled by his brother Pierre Lafitte.
After the United States government passed the Embargo Act of 1807, the Lafittes moved their operations to an island in Barataria Bay, Louisiana.
Later, in return for a legal pardon for the smugglers, Lafitte and his comrades helped General Andrew Jackson defend New Orleans against the British in the final battle of the War of 1812.