Curated by
e/Prime Media & Randy Fertel

Back o’ Town Blues: Louis Armstrong in New Orleans Tour

Before he became a global icon, Louis Armstrong was a kid in “back o’ town” New Orleans delivering coal to help support himself. He grew up around an array of characters, from hustlers and pimps to world-class musicians and teachers who nurtured his talent. His early years in the city–from the music venues on his block to the detention center he stayed in–had a profound influence on him and, by extension, on the development of popular American music.

Unfortunately, several places on this tour—the Red Onion, Funky Butt Hall, Armstrong’s birthplace, the Colored Waifs Home for Boys, and most of Storyville—have not survived the century since Armstrong’s coming-of-age. In light of this loss, the cluster of surviving buildings on the 400 block of South Rampart Street is even more precious.

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From author John McCusker: "Louis Armstrong's New Orleans," a five-minute look at Satchmo's formative years and the state of landmarks associated with him.