LaPlace, La.— Just upriver from New Orleans is a new museum that combines 2 historic moments in our history.
John McCusker, Managing Director of the 1811 Kid Ory House explains, “It’s remarkable that we have in this one piece of ground is 2 remarkable moments in American history. The largest uprising of enslaved people, and also a key figure in the birth of jazz.
The museum is a beautiful renovation of an historic home, but a very dark event took place here.
McCusker, “The 1811 story tells us the inevitable outcome of when man treats other human beings inhumanely.
Roughly half of the house is dedicated to telling that story of the slave uprising, focusing on the humanity of all involved. Not a romantic retelling of the history, the house aims to take a realistic look at who our people really were.
According to McCusker, “People who come here who are descendants of enslaved Americans can learn that their ancestors fought back, not just with the big rebellion in 1811, but every slow walk task, every broken tool that showed up. There was resistance in all kinds of ways.
Native Americans called this area ‘ba bancha’, place of many languages and a son of that diversity was one of the most inventive and creative artists in the history of jazz, Kid Ory. And his story is told here as well.
Ory was a groundbreaking trombonist who played with the likes of Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, and Jelly Roll Morton, but his biggest contributions were that of a bandleader.
“We talk about Duke Ellington as a bandleader, not as a pianist and in a certain way that’s how we should talk about Ory. His instrument was the band and helping create that band dynamic with polyphony and collective improvisations that are the hallmarks of New Orleans Jazz,” said McCusker.
The 1811 Kid Ory House is located at 1128 Hwy. 628 in Laplace and is open Tuesday through Sunday.