Leaders from the River Region and the Louisiana’s River Parishes Tourist Commission commemorated the 210th anniversary of the 1811 Slave Revolt by dedicating a new 10-mile trail Friday.
The 1811 Slave Revolt Trail tells the story of the revolt, which is often referred to as America’s first freedom march, with travel between the two trailhead locations: the 1811 Kid Ory Historic House in LaPlace and the Destrehan Plantation. The trail includes stops at specific points found along the way that highlight significant events along the journey.
Extended experiences at the Whitney Plantation in Wallace and Riverlands Historic Church in Reserve are also available to help visitors gain insight into these historic events.
“Remembering our history and where we come from as people, and a nation, is essential to building our future,” St. Charles Parish President Matthew Jewell said at the trail dedication Friday. “Our collective differences and experiences create our history, and by reflecting on what once was, we gain a better understand of the world around us.”
The 1811 Slave Revolt began on the grounds of a plantation owned by Manuel Andry, now the 1811 Kid Ory Historic House in LaPlace. The group of the enslaved, estimated to be up to 500 people at some points, traveled down River Road and were joined by other enslaved people during their two-day march to New Orleans.
After an initial encounter with militia near Kenner, the group was forced back to near present-day Norco where a violent encounter and subsequent trials at Destrehan Plantation, as well as other locations, left about 100 of the enslaved dead.
Many of the enslaved were beheaded, and their heads were lined across the levee in front of the plantations along the river to serve as a warning to others.
It was one of the largest slave revolts in U.S. history.
“Though this action was technically unsuccessful, reverberations of the 1811 rebellion echoed across the young United States,” reads the trail’s website. “It was the first of several large-scale, militant actions against slavery that occurred across the South in the decades leading up to the Civil War and Emancipation.”
To access trail information and a free audio download, narrated by actor and New Orleans native Wendell Pierce, visit www.the1811slaverevolt.com.