Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Louis Armstrong was reborn with a trumpet

Louis Armstrong, born in 1901, was the most influential musician of the 20th century, but his first mention in the newspaper did little to foreshadow the man he would become. For shooting a gun, he was sentenced to the Colored Waifs Home.
Louis Armstrong in black face as King of Zulu in a 1949 Mardi Gras parade
It was there he received the first formal instruction in music and his first instrument, a cornet. The horn would ultimately define Armstrong, and he would ultimately redefine the horn.

But years before Louis Armstrong’s achievements were mentioned in the newspaper, his arrest in 1913 on New Year’s Day was covered by the Times-Democrat.

During Armstrong’s return to New Orleans in 1931, his first since leaving in 1922, he visited the Milne Boys Home in Gentilly. The facility had replaced the old Colored Waif’s Home in Mid-City where Armstrong had been incarcerated. His music teacher then was Peter Davis.

Armstrong, nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, became a world-acclaimed personality who revolutionized jazz and popular music with his signature style of singing and trumpet playing. On March 3, 1949, he reigned as king of Zulu on Mardi Gras.

Louis Armstrong Park in Faubourg Treme was created to honor the city’s most famous favorite son and to preserve the site of Congo Square, the historic meeting space of slaves in the 1800s.
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