Huddie Ledbetter, better known to the world as “Lead Belly,” is said to have been born on the Jeter Plantation near Mooringsport, LA. His birthplace is listed as Freeport, LA on his 1942 draft card. There is no such known place name. It is conceivable that someone filled it out for him and misunderstood “Shreveport,” as many locals still pronounce it “Shreeport.” He lists his date of birth as January, 1889. Huddie is one who spent time in all three of the key cities of our regional music heritage, Shreveport, Texarkana, and Marshall. When he was five, his family moved to near Texarkana in Bowie County. He is yet another who was very likely exposed to boogie woogie and blues that could be heard almost around the clock there on visits to town. He lived for a time in Harrison County, where boogie woogie was born. His earliest known performances were in the notorius St. Paul’s Bottoms of Shreveport.
Leadbelly’s original “House of the Rising Sun”
The Animals version of “House of the Rising Sun” that made it popular and brought Leadbelly to public attention.