Benachi was born in 1812 on the Greek island of Chios, and he was living in New Orleans at least as early as 1852, when he purchased a large piece of choice real estate in the city. (He went on to build a mansion, known as the “Benachi House,” on some of the highest ground in New Orleans. It still stands, and is now an upscale bed and breakfast.) Benachi himself was a formidable figure. Here’s one description:
Benachi was a Greek businessman who worked in the New Orleans cotton trade for the Greek firm of Ralli Bros. They were international cotton brokers with offices in London, Cairo, Athens and India. […] He was Consul of Greece in New Orleans, a speculator in real estate and slaves, a hunter, horseman and founder of the first Greek Orthodox Church in the Western Hemisphere
Being the most prominent figure in the Greek (and Orthodox) community in New Orleans, as well as being a slaveowner, Benachi was probably involved in the organization of the Greek militia regiment during the Civil War. His daughter went on to marry Demetrius Botassi, the Greek Consul in New York City, and Botassi became a major figure in New York’s Orthodox community.
Benachi lived for another two decades. He died in New Orleans in 1886, at the age of 74.