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Musician's historic house set to close due to lack of visitors

The founder is still hopeful they can reopen after taking a long look at how they operate and changing a few things.

LAPLACE, La. — More than 100 years ago, Jazz was born in LaPlace.

Just two years ago, John McCusker brought it back home.

The 1811 - Kid Ory Historic House is a museum with two purposes: Preserving the story of pioneering jazz trombonist Edward "Kid" Ory and chronicling what it believed to be the biggest uprising of enslaved people in US history.

Unfortunately, the museum is set to close at the end of the month.

"We put together a what I think is a really great collection," McCusker, one of the museum's founders, said. "Right now our biggest problem is we just need to get more people here so we can hang on.”

The museum houses an impressive collection — everything from Kid Ory's trombone to the sheet music he wrote with Louis Armstrong.

The 1811 Kid Ory Historic House also tells the story of the 1811 German Coat Uprising.

On Jan. 9, 1811, a group of enslaved people came into what is now the museum and confronted the owner, wounding him before marching to New Orleans and leading what is believed to be the biggest uprising of enslaved people in US history.

"There are a number of assumptions that have always been made in the telling of the story," McCusker said. "We question those and we present evidence for people to consider different scenarios of what this event was really about.”

Right now, the 1811 - Kid Ory Historic House is set to close its doors at the end of the month. Its final day of operation will be Oct. 1.

McCusker is still hopeful they can reopen after taking a long look at how they operate and changing a few things.

"We're at a critical point that you know, our owner, you know, has been very patient two years without us having to pay rent," he said. "And you know, we're sort of fish or cut bait point now."

Other museums, including the Smithsonian, have reached out to McCusker about acquiring their collection if the museum does close. The goal is still to keep this piece of Louisiana history in its home though.

Tours are still available by appointment. To book a tour, visit the 1811 - Kid Ory Historic House's website here.

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