(source: New Orleans Public Library)
Louis Armstrong from Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans:
That neighborhood [Back ‘O Town] certainly had a lot to offer. Of course, we kids were not allowed to go into the Funky Butt, but we could hear the orchestra from the sidewalk …
Old Buddy Bolden blew so hard that I used to wonder if I would ever have enough lung power to fill one of those cornets … In any case he finally went crazy. You can figure that out for yourself.
You really heard music when Bunk Johnson played the cornet with the Eagle Band … You heard real music when you heard these guys. Of course Buddy Bolden had the biggest reputation, but even as a small kid I believed in finesse, even in music.
Back ‘O Town–the “Black Storyville“–was mowed down to make way for City Hall, the Superdome, and hotels, but the Eagle Saloon (also known as Union Sons of Honor Hall) remains (as in the remains of the Eagle Saloon are at 401 S. Rampart Street):
But this is the place, the exact coordinates, where horn players such as Buddy Bolden innovated the sound that became jazz. Louis Armstrong grew up nearby, and he fired a celebratory gunshot outside the building in 1913 that landed him in the boys home where he learned to play the cornet.
Go ahead and read the rest of the Times-Pic piece to get a sense of a) the dubious plans for rehabilitating the property (a wax museum!), and b) the questionable stewardship of the property’s redevelopment. The questionable steward has a website where you can donate to his efforts.
A wax museum? How about a first rate jazz hall?