Saturday, August 27, 2005

Huddie Ledbetter's Grave, Shiloh Baptist Church near Mooringsport

Huddie Ledbetter, better known as folk singer Leadbelly, is buried outside of Mooringsport at the church where he and his family worshipped, Shiloh Baptist.

While his statue on Texas St in Shreveport implies he lived there, Huddie spent more of his life in prisons, in various locations in Texas and in New York City than he did in Shreveport. But visiting Shreveport was an important part of growing up in the country, he reminds listeners in "Mister Tom Hughes' Town." Hughes was the chief of police.

Leadbelly's songbook includes "Goodnight, Irene," "Midnight Special," "Good Morning, Blues," "Alberta," "In the Pines," and "Rock Island Line." His tunes have been lauded by Kurt Cobain, Robert Plant, Eric Clapton and many more august musicians. Driving directions to his grave site - quite a pretty drive in the fall - are to be found at

1 comment:

John Andrew Prime said...

Tom Hughes was not the chief of police, he was the Caddo Parish sheriff...

Lead Belly spelled his nickname as two words, not one, as shown in the letters and postcards he sent his wife...

Long-time visitors to Lead Belly's grave at the Shiloh Church should note with dismay that not only does the replacement stone contain such errors as placing the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in New York City, but it also now faces the wrong way, away from Lead Belly's body, and the fence is over a space where he does not lie. His body is now under the sidewalk. I know this from past visits, including one with the late poet Allen Ginsburg, who was at Ledbetter's funeral.