Louis Armstrong

    Louis Daniel "Satchmo" Armstrong was born in New Orleans on July 4, 1900.  He grew up in the Jane Alley section of New Orleans.  He was educated in the public schools of New Orleans.  At age thirteen he was a member of an acapella singing group.  On New Years eve while they were singing and walking on South Rampart Street, he fired his step-father's gun into the air.  He was arrested and placed into the Colored Waif's Home for boys (now Milne Boy's Home) by the court.  Once confined, the music director of the home, Mr. George Davis challenged him to play a musical instrument.  A youthful Louis Armstrong made good of his confinement, he learned to play several musical instruments.  The cornet became his instrument of choice.  He practiced often and soon he was playing good enough to the play in the Waif's Home Band.  Once released from the home, he worked at odd jobs and played music with some of the other young musicians who were trying to play this new style of music, Jazz.  For the next seven years or so, Louis played music with some of the great pioneers of New Orleans.

    In July, 1922, King Oliver, one of his ideals on the trumpet who was a very skillful and popular musician, asked Louis to play second cornet with his Creole Jazz Band in Chicago, Illinois.  Louis then began playing with other bands that were traveling around the country.  It was Fletcher Henderson, another great Jazz band leader who encouraged Louis to switch from the cornet to the trumpet, an instrument he would play throughout his career.

    In the Fall of 1927, Louis Armstrong headed his first band.  He sang with his band in addition to playing the trumpet.  In the Spring of 1929, he was featured in a New York variety show that he made his first solo recordings as a singer and trumpeter.  They were successful and he received much recognition for them.  In 1932, Louis Armstrong headlined a show at the London Palladium, where he acquired the nickname "Satchmouth," he was called "Satchmo" for short.  He had several bands during his career.  His bands that recorded and performed the most were the "Louis Armstrong's Hot Five" and the "Louis Armstrong's Hot Seven."  They traveled to many foreign countries performing for kings and queens, making numerous appearances in movies and concerts.

    As Jazz became known as the first American Art form to the world, Louis lead the nation in the leadership of that music.  Soon his recording career accelerated, his recordings sold in the millions of copies, and his personal appearances where in great demand.  He had parts in several movies, and he was in demand to play on radio and television programs.  He became known as "America's Ambassador of Good Will to the World."  Louis Armstrong instrumentalist on the trumpet and his singing style has influenced the music industry greatly.  This magnificent musician had little fear of death, he often spoke of playing a duet with Gabriel when he reached the Pearly Gates of Heaven.  On July 6, 1971, Louis Armstrong died.  People throughout the world mourned his death.  The city of New Orleans commissioned a bronze statue of him and named a park in his memory.  In 1985, in the city of New Orleans, The Louis Armstrong Foundation was founded to preserve his music and that of Traditional Jazz.

Subtle Fact Gallery



This is the drum of Jordan B. Noble, a veteran of four wars, and a Captain of Louisiana Native Guard. This drum was beaten by him at many military and civic parades, including the World's
Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition, New Orleans, 1884-1885.


Want to learn more, check out our latest work here.