On July 29, the Louisiana State Museum, in conjunction with the Louis Armstrong House Museum, will exhibit “Satchmo: His Life In New Orleans” at the Old U.S. Mint on Esplanade Avenue.
The exhibit coincides with the 100-year anniversary of Louis Armstrong’s very first professional gig. Louis Armstrong got a job playing cornet at Henry Ponce’s Honky Tonk, but a feud between Ponce and Joe Segretta (competing bar owners, bitter enemies and reportedly Mafiosi) ultimately culminated in a shootout and Henry Ponce’s Honky Tonk was shut down. But Henry Ponce’s provided Armstrong with his very first paid gig.
The exhibit pays homage to Armstrong’s earliest influences including his mother, Mayann, the Russian-Jewish Karnofsky family, with whom Armstrong had a friendship in the beginning of his life in New Orleans, and his first music instructor at the Colored Waif’s Home, Peter Davis.
The exhibit compiles 70 artifacts and items from the collections of the Louis Armstrong House Museum in New York, none of which have ever before been exhibited in New Orleans. These special highlights include Armstrong’s final Selmer trumpet that he had with him for his final visit home to New Orleans in 1968. This trumpet will be set next to his first cornet from the Colored Waif’s Home, which is currently on display at the Old U.S. Mint.
Pages from selected manuscripts written by Armstrong, including a reproduction of the entire, four-page letter on being named “King of the Zulus” in 1949 and his thoughts on race relations will be on display.
“Satchmo: His Life In New Orleans” will be on display until January 15, 2016 at The Old U.S. Mint on Tuesdays through Saturdays.