Louis Armstrong arrested for firing a gun
Armstrong developed his cornet playing seriously in the band of the New Orleans Home for Colored Waifs, where he had been sent multiple times for general delinquency, most notably for a long term after firing his stepfather's pistol into the air at a New Year's Eve celebration, as police records confirm. Professor Peter Davis (who frequently appeared at the Home at the request of its administrator, Captain Joseph Jones) instilled discipline in and provided musical training to the otherwise self-taught Armstrong. Eventually, Davis made Armstrong the band leader. The Home band played around New Orleans and the thirteen year old Louis began to draw attention by his cornet playing, starting him on a musical career. At fourteen he was released from the Home, living again with his father and new stepmother and then back with his mother and also back to the streets and their temptations. Armstrong got his first dance hall job at Henry Ponce’s where Black Benny became his protector and guide. He hauled coal by day and played his cornet at night.
He also played in the city's frequent brass band parades and listened to older musicians every chance he got, learning from Bunk Johnson, Buddy Petit, Kid Ory, and above all, Joe "King" Oliver, who acted as a mentor and father figure to the young musician. Later, he played in the brass bands and riverboats of New Orleans and first started traveling with the well-regarded band of Fate Marable which toured on a steamboat up and down the Mississippi River. He described his time with Marable as "going to the University," since it gave him a much wider experience working with written arrangements.
In 1913 Armstrong was arrested for firing a gun into the air on New Year's Eve. He was sent to the Waif's Home (a reform school), where he took up the cornet (a trumpet-like instrument) and eventually played in a band. After his release he worked odd jobs and began performing with local groups. He was also befriended by Joe "King" Oliver, leader of the first great African American band to make records, who gave him trumpet lessons.
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Louis was born in "the Battlefield," a poor section of New Orleans, in August 1901. As a boy, he released his energy in a variety of ways — not always socially acceptable. One of Louis's last transgressions as a youth, at the age of 12, was to fire a gun into the air during a New Year's Eve celebration. He was arrested and sent to reform school.
During his two-year stay at the "Gray Bar Hotel," Armstrong learned to play the cornet. Upon his release, Louis gravitated to areas where he could listen to the better-known bands of the city. He survived on the streets by selling newspapers, selling coal from a cart, and unloading boats at the docks.
Louis Armstrong (nickname Satchmo) has long been considered one of the world’s greatest trumpeters of all time, having come into prominence during the 1920s. Satchmo had a profound effect on Jazz music, transforming it from a group endeavor to a soloist’s masterpiece. Not only was he second-to-none when it came to the trumpet, but he also had a distinct deep voice who used his skills as a scat singer (or wordless vocalizing) to move his crowd.
Louis Armstrong was born & raised in the City of New Orleans. His father left both him & his mother when he was roughly five-years-old; & in order to make ends meat, Louis’ mother worked as a domestic, laboring for 12+ hours a day just to keep the family together.
At the young age of 12, Louis was arrested for firing a gun during a New Year’s celebration. He was tried & convicted in court &, as a result, was sent to the Colored Waifs’ Home for Boys. During his time in the home, Louis fell under the tutelage of Peter Davis, who taught Louis to play the cornet & bugle.
In the picture you see the remnants of the Colored Waifs’ Home for Boys which was damaged rather badly during Hurricane Katrina.