Loui Armstrong

Louis Daniel Armstrong was born in the Storyville District of New Orleans, Louisiana, on August 4, 1901, he always celebrated his birth as July 4, 1900 because that is what he was told and believed. His real date of birth was not known until after his death July 6, 1971. His father Willie, a laborer, left the family soon after he was born, his mother, a domestic servant and part time prostitute called Mayanne, left Louis and his sister Beatrice, also called ‘Mama Lucy’, in the care of his grandma much of the time, however he always believed the love of his family helped him make it through those rough times.
In his autobiography, ‘Louie’ describes his neighborhood, “It was called the Battlefield because the toughest characters in town used to live there, and would shoot and fight much. In that one block between Gravier and Perido Streets more people were crowded than you ever saw in your life.” He dressed in rags and usually shopped in garbage cans. He sang with other boys on the streets for tips and begin to develop his musical talents. At this time in his life, it was not ‘A WONDERFUL WORLD’ for young Louis.
To celebrate the New Year in 1913 Louis discharged a borrowed pistol into the air and was arrested. A very fortunate occurrence for Jazz and probably for him, he was admitted to the city’s Colored Waif’s Home for Boys, where he came under the very capable tutorship of Peter Davis, the music instructor at the home. Louis had some background in harmony singing, as a natural ability, and the experience of singing on the streets, but under Mr. Davis he began to study music. First vocals, then percussion, then he became the home bugler, and finally cornet. The music was very structured mostly marches and other ensemble music.