Louis Armstrong’s career was characterized for decades by a seemingly never-ending succession of concerts, recording sessions, promotional appearances, and “one-nighters.” Here are just some of the highlights of Louis’s life.
Louis Armstrong’s childhood home, shortly before it was demolished in the mid-1960s
1901
Louis Armstrong is born on August 4th in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Mary (Mayann) and William Armstrong.
Louis with his mother, Mayann, and sister, Mama Lucy (Beatrice), c. 1922
1901-1907
William Armstrong abandons the family during Louis’s infancy. Louis spends the first years of his life living with his paternal grandmother, Josephine Armstrong. After age five, Louis lives in a two room house near Liberty and Perdido Streets with his mother and sister, Beatrice (who was nicknamed Mama Lucy). The family lives in stark poverty.
From Louis’s personal audiotape collection
c. 1907
Forms a vocal quartet with three other boys and performs on street corners for tips. The Karnofskys, a family of Russian Jewish immigrants, hires Louis to work on their junk wagon. Purchases his first cornet with money loaned to him by the Karnofskys.