The River Road African American Museum, is located in the downtown historic district of Donaldsonville and was founded on March 12, 1994.

Kathe Hambrick, the museum founder and director, returned to Louisiana from California in 1991. Upon returning to Louisiana, she soon discovered that although some things had changed, other things remained the same.
The River Road African American Museum exhibits include Free People of Color; African Influences on Louisiana Cuisine; Rural Roots of Jazz; Black Doctors of the River Road; Louisiana Black Inventors; Folk Artists; Louisiana Underground Railroad; Reconstruction Period; History of Education in Plantation Country and Slave Inventories
Visit the River Road African American Museum and learn about the past in order to understand the future.
 Learn about the story of the River Road African American Museum from its beginning to our future plans. Here also you find is our vision/mission statements and a letter from the founder/director of the museum, Kathe Hambrick.
There was a lack of knowledge about the contributions of African Americans who lived and worked on the plantations along the Mississippi River.


Hambrick toured plantations that lined the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. These tours romanticized the lives of plantation owners and their families. Hambrick found that the history of the enslaved Africans was not included in the narratives that were presented on the plantation tours. Upon learning of this grave omission, she vowed to herself - "We must do something to tell our story..." Later on, one night, it just came to Hambrick that the answer was a museum.

On March 12, 1994, as a tribute to the hundreds of enslaved people brought to the area, the River Road African American Museum opened.
In 1992, in a bold and Tezcuco Plantationcourageous move, driven by a passion to fulfill her vision, Kathe Hambrick approached the owners of the Tezcuco Plantation and with great conviction asked the owners if they would let her use a vacant room at Tezcuco to start a museum.

A glimpse at the interior of the original museum.Tezcuco Fire - Photo courtesy of Tom McElroy of The AdvocateOn Mothers' Day 12, 2002, the Tezcuco Plantation was engulfed by fire. The fire destroyed the 4,500 square-foot main plantation house. The River Road African American Museum collection was spared. The owners of Tezcuco decided not to rebuild.

The museum found its new home in historic Donaldsonville at 406 Charles Street.

The museum’s relocation to Donaldsonville is significant in that it now incorporates the stories and unique history and landmarks of the Donaldsonville area which once was the capital of Louisiana.

406 Charles Street  |  Donaldsonville, LA 70346
Phone: 225.474.5553  |
Exhibits  |  Tours  |  Museum  |  Events  |  Support
Shop  |  Education  |  Resources  |  Media
  Contact  |  Policy  |  Home

© 2004- African American Museum