1811 Kid Ory Historic House

Do you like history? Do you like jazz music? This little museum has both! It is not a far drive from New Orleans, and the drive is quite scenic on some parts of the route.  

Address: 128 Highway 628, LaPlace, LA 70068

Website: 1811kidoryhistorichouse.com

Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10AM-3PM and by appointment

Admission: $15/Adults, $7.50/children

Gift Shop: Yes

Parking on Property

Photography Allowed Inside and Outside

The 1811 Kid Ory Historic House is a unique attraction that is relatively new. The museum opened right around the start of the pandemic, and not too many people know about it yet.  Come and be one of the first to experience this wonderful place.  

On a visit to this house, you will learn about:

The 1811 German Coast Uprising: Rebellion of the Enslaved

The names of the 85 slaves who tragically lost their lives. 

This house highlights the powerful story of the “largest enslaved liberation attempt in the United States,” which began on this property one evening in 1811. The pursuit of freedom by these individuals was a tragedy in the making. I will not go into the story, because it is more interesting for you to hear it from the tour guides on your visit.  The names of the slaves who lost their lives are on display, and research is being done to see if historical background can be found for each person who lost their life on that tragic evening. 

Kid Ory 

Kid Ory and the Dawn of Jazz

John McCusker showing us how the old music players worked

Kid Ory, a prominent jazz musician who was an integral part of making jazz popular to the rest of the world, was born on this property in 1886. Come to this museum to learn more about his life and the origins of jazz music.

An old musical cylinder that still works

Mules at Work in Southeast Louisiana

In honor of the mules
One of Mr. McCusker’s projects in his workshop

The museum also has a room dedicated to mules and the contributions they made to agricultural life in Louisiana.  A mule sometimes lives on the property, and they hope to create a permanent home for him on the property in the future. He does visit from time to time and perhaps you will encounter him on your visit. 

My visit:

Charlotte Jones and John McCusker, our tour guides

Our tour was led by the founder and managing director of this museum, John McCusker, an award winning photojournalist for the Times Picayune and later the New Orleans Advocate. He has written two books on local history, one about Kid Ory and one about the Mardi Gras Indians.  The tour was also led by Charlotte Jones, the Operations and Programming Manager, who is very well studied in the area of history and New Orleans tourism.  Both are extremely enthusiastic about this project, and their enthusiasm shows in their passionate descriptions of the events that took place in and around this house.  They also share their extensive knowledge of New Orleans history and of course the history of jazz music. Mr. McCusker operated the old victrolas for us and showed us his workshop out back, where he works on building cigar-box guitars and violins, victrolas and other objects for sale or display. 

The house was built in 1797 and has changed little since 1811.  This home is not furnished as a plantation house, plantation life is not the focus of this museum  Half of the rooms in the house are dedicated to the 1811 uprising, and the other half are dedicated to Kid Ory and jazz music. And of course, there is a room dedicated to mules!  

How Can We Support this Museum?

One of the old outbuildings

Visit the museum and bring friends. Entrance fee is $15 for adults and $7.50 for children

Donate to the museum so they can keep it afloat and acquire new displays. Currently the founder is attempting to locate and retrieve some other buildings that were once on the property but were moved. He is interested in increasing opportunities for people to learn about jazz history in the New Orleans/Louisiana Region by providing exciting, informative and interesting exhibits and artifacts for people to enjoy. 

Finally, you can shop in the Gift Shop!

Our tour guide demonstrating the cigar box guitar

I personally love to review gift shops, and this one is a doozy. It does not have a lot of inventory yet, but the things it does have are very unique and creative. You can buy a cigar-box guitar with beautiful photos on it, you can buy a little victrola, you can buy some local art and jewelry, you can buy books and jazz CDs, and yes, you can buy a magnet (a must have for my travels).

This photo does not capture the real beauty of these cigar box guitars

I strongly recommend a visit to this unique museum. The house tour was fun,, the drive is nice, and the property is beautiful. Among other things, you will learn some history that is not normally taught in schools, you will learn about the origins of jazz music in New Orleans, and you will learn how a victrola works.