From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Meaux, Leora

(born: Septermber 27, 1888  -  died: March 9, 1958) 

Leora Meaux, born in Louisville, KY, was a classically-trained cornet, trumpet, and saxophone player. Her last name is misspelled in several sources as "Meoux" and is often refered to in relation to her second husband, James Fletcher Henderson [The Red Hot Jazz Archive].

Meaux left Kentucky for New York City when she was about 22-years old, around 1910. She is listed as a domestic on p. 1122 of Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville for 1909 and as a teacher on p. 790 of Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville for 1910. Once in New York, she  performed with a number of all-women bands: The Musical Spillers, a vaudeville group; Hallie Anderson's Lafayette Theatre "Lady Band" in 1919; her own group the Vampires around 1927; Lafayette Theatre House Orchestra; the Negro Women's Orchestral and Civic Association; and Lil Armstrong's orchestra around 1932-34. *She also traveled to Europe to play in 1913.

Meaux  was a substitute in her husband Fletcher Henderson's band, recording with them in 1932. Fletcher Henderson and Leora Meaux Smith had met when she was playing in a riverboat orchestra. At the time, she was married to musician Russell Smith; the couple had married on March 14, 1918 in Manhattan, NY [sources: New York Marriage Index in Ancestry.com, certificate #26885; and 1920 U.S. Census]. Leora Meaux would divorced Russell Smith and then marry Fletcher Henderson on Christmas Day in 1924 [New York Marriage Index in Ancestry.com, certificate  #20].

Leora Meaux Henderson died March 9, 1958 in Manhattan, NY (Ancestry). She was the daughter of Maggie Brown and William Meaux [source: FamilySearch (requires free account login)]; according to the 1920 U.S. Census, both of her parents were born in Ohio.

For more information see "Leora Meoux" in Black Women in American Bands and Orchestras, by D. Antoinette Handy; Stormy Weather: the music and lives of a century of jazzwomen, by L. Dahl; and *Ancestry.com: List of United States Citizens (from the Immigration Authorities), Number 4, p. 122 - Mauretania [Wikipedia] sailing from Liverpool, 1st of February 1913, Arriving at Port of New York 8 Feb. 1913.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Caron's directory of the city of Louisville (annual)
NKAA Source: Ancestry (online)
NKAA Source: Black women in American bands and orchestras
NKAA Source: Stormy weather: the music and lives of a century of jazzwomen
NKAA Source: Ancestry (online)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Meaux, Leora,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed February 21, 2024, https://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/index.php/items/show/3182.

Last modified: 2021-02-07 23:51:59