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On April 9, 1682, Robert Cavelier de la Salle planted the cross on Louisiana soil and erected a plaque with the French fleur-de-lis. He claimed the lower Mississippi Valley in the name of God and the French King. La Salle then returned to Quebec but continued in his effort to enlarge New France all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Later he formed an expedition to seek out the mouth of the Mississippi River and set up a colony. Either through an error in navigation or by intent he overshot that objective and built a settlement much further west at Matagorda Bay in today's Texas. After la Salle's failure France started over with a Louisiana venture this time at Old Biloxi. Although Natchitoches is the oldest town in the Louisiana Purchase (1714) it was remote and only established as a trade post so no parish was founded there until later. The French also had little need in providing a priest for such a small settlement with the Spanish priests so close at Los Adais.