1811/The historic Kid Ory house closes its doors on October 1 – L’Observateur

1811/The historic Kid Ory house closes on October 1

Posted 11:56 a.m. on Friday, September 2, 2022

LAPLACE — The historic 1811/Kid Ory house will close on Oct. 1, but museum founder John McCusker hopes the collection can one day reopen to the public.

Located on Highway 628 in LaPlace, the former Andry/Woodland Plantation House opened in early 2021 and was very successful until the variant COVID-19 Delta and Hurricane Ida put a end to local tourism.

Owner Timothy Sheehan has allowed the museum to operate essentially rent-free for the past two years, giving locals and tourists the chance to visit the site that saw the origin of the largest slave rebellion in history of the United States and, later, the rise of jazz. pioneer Edward “Kid” Ory.

After the museum closes, McCusker intends to spend October applying for grants that would provide the funding needed to resume operations. The collection, which includes Ory’s valve trombone, sheet music and vintage records, will remain in place for the time being.

“We have been in the very good graces of the owner here for two years. The plan was to do it for a year, but the year was taken down by COVID-D and Ida. We did another year, and it really picked up. For the past two weeks, we’ve had so many people. Even then, we have a gap between what it costs to have this place here and the revenue we bring in,” McCusker said. “We are going to close in October and regroup. We’ve been around long enough now to qualify for grants that we wouldn’t have had before. Tim Sheehan has an incredible expense to pay here every month. I hope we can raise funds and find a solution that works for everyone. If we can find a way to make a return, we will.

Parts of the house date from 1790, making it one of the oldest structures in the area. For many years the property remained in the Montegut/Ory family. The house was unoccupied between 2005 and 2017. Without maintenance, the structure fell into disrepair over time. When current owner Sheehan purchased the historic home in March 2017, he embarked on an extensive renovation project to restore it to its former glory.

For the past two years, Sheehan has allowed McCusker and program manager Charlotte Jones to share the historic home with the public.

In addition to offering tours, the 1811/Kid Ory House has hosted several events over the past year, including a photo restoration effort in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida and several archaeological digs.

To commemorate the centenary of Ory’s band making their first recording, a May 2022 event at the house featured a tribute band to Kid Ory and the creation of a recording on a wax cylinder using a phonograph Edison 120 years old. Sybil Morial, former First Lady of New Orleans and descendant of Kid Ory’s family, celebrated Mother’s Day on the grounds of the museum.

McCusker hopes the collection can remain in the parish of St. John to provide insight into two interesting pieces of local history. For many years, McCusker was fascinated by the story of Kid Ory, a boy born in the cane fields who became a music industry legend. A component of American music still resides in the heart of LaPlace’s Woodland Quarters.
“There are so many things here that people can still relate to. When you find someone you can relate to, it makes the story interesting. Hopefully we can be a place for that,” McCusker said. “We are not giving up. From the Lieutenant Governor’s office to the local tourist commission and some of the other local historic sites have been very supportive. We hope we can put all our heads together and find a solution.

Historic 1811/Kid Ory House will continue to operate by appointment Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., during the month of September. Tickets can be obtained at 1811kidoryhistorichouse.com.

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