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Louis Armstrong: Dippermouth's Life and Love

          Louis Armstrong: Dippermouth's Loves by Brandon Bailey

  louis armstrong 398146 1920  Louis Armstrong was an American Jazz trumpeter who was born in his hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana on August 4,1900. Armstrong had gained much popularity as a cornet player in the city of New Orleans. Louis gained many nicknames while growing up. Those nicknames were Dipper, Dippermouth, Pops and his most famous nickname Satchmo. Even though Louis was raised by a single mom, was poor for most of his life, lived in a tough town and was raised in a time of susceptible racism. Armstrong was socially acknowledged by businessmen, whores, pimps, officers of the law, other musicians and his family because of his personality, hard work, and musicianship skills.

            Of course young Armstrong lived in poverty and had a difficult life but he found a way to overcome all of those obstacles. And Dippermouth’s way to overcome those challenges was his love for music. Louis Armstrong was able to channel joy and amusement out of playing the trumpet. It was a sort of ecstasy high Armstrong got out of playing the trumpet. Louis Armstrong was sent to the juvenile detention center The Colored Waifs’ Home for Boys because he shot off a six-shooter .38 pistol in the air to celebrate the New Year. Armstrong states that this incident is what taught him how to play the trumpet, because The Colored Waifs Home for Boys is where he learned how to play trumpet. Armstrong states music has been in his blood from the day he was born. Louis got his chance to sing in the school through Mr. Jones, Miss Spriggins and Mrs. Vigne who taught the higher grades. On the other hand, Louis would listen to Mr. Davis’s little brass band and it would remind Armstrong of Joe Oliver, Bolden and Buck Johnson. This gave Louis an awful urge to learn the cornet. After six months in The Colored Waifs Home for Boys Mr. Davis asked Louis Armstrong to join his Brass Band. Louis accepted the offer and was on his way to becoming the superstar he is today. But first he was assigned tambourine then drums next it was the bugle and finally Louis was assigned cornet. Every day Louis would practice Mr. Davis lesson faithfully. This is where Louis realized cornet was his ambition.


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            Not only does Louis Armstrong loves his trumpet and Jazz but Louis loves his Grandmother and his wife Daisy. In Armstrong early years he grew up in James Alley which lies in the heart of the battlefield. It’s called the Battlefield because the toughest characters lived in the town. Louis was born there and his mother and father lived with his Grandmother, Mrs. Josephine. Later on his parents split up and Louis stayed with his Grandmother. Satchmo’s Grandmother played an important role in his early life. Mrs. Josephine sent him to school and she took a job washing and ironing to take care of him. Also Louis’s Grandma would take him to work and Louis would play with the white kids. More important Mrs. Josephine took Louis to church and Louis put his heart went into every hymn he sang. Louis claims he is a great believer and goes to church whenever he gets a chance. Mrs. Josephine played a tremendous role in Louis’s life. Armstrong told his Grandma “I love you so much Grandma. You have been so kind and nice to me, and taught me everything I know.”[Armstrong 13].

            On the contrary, eighteen-year-old Louis Armstrong fell deeply in love with a woman named Daisy Parker. Louis met Daisy at a honky-tonk called the Brick House in Gretna, Louisiana. Daisy Parker was a good-looking Creole gal that weighed less than 100 pounds. Also Daisy worked as a prostitute at the Brick House. The romance started when Daisy and Louis were flirting with each other during one of Louis’s gigs. Later that night the two met after work and stayed in a room from five in the morning till way in the afternoon and a bond between them started. The band Louis played for had signed a contract to play at another club so Louis did not see daisy for an entire month. Later on, Louis and Daisy met up at Daisy’s house and Daisy’s old man broke down the door and broke up Louis and Daisy affair. Her old man hit Daisy so hard he knocked her out and Louis ran far away from the house. Louis thought Daisy was using him as a plaything so he broke it off with her. But one day after the incident Daisy caught Louis off guard with his friends standing outside and she was crying over him confessing her love to him. Louis thought it was nice to have a chick breaking down all over him and he took Daisy back. Louis Armstrong had left home for six months to play a gig. When he got back home they were so glad to see each other they kissed and kissed and they lived joyous together.

            Above all, Louis Armstrong is a genuine easygoing person. Armstrong at times expresses himself with such a down to earth tone. You feel as if he is in the room talking to you. Louis Armstrong Satchmo my life in New Orleans was, in point of fact, easy to read. Louis was able to relate to readers from the south because he is a true New Orleanian. Armstrong writing style included plenty of onomatopoeias, folk words, and adjectives. 90% of Louis Armstrong Satchmo my life in New Orleans was written from Armstrong’s own memory and from Armstrong’s own perspective. Louis Armstrong music was his life and Armstrong dedicated his life to music.


Armstrong, Louis. Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans. Centennial ed. New York, NY: Da Capo, 1986. Print.

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Image Courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries

Harlem Map at Swann

    Lot 415: E. Simms Campbell, A Night-Club Map of Harlem, original illustration for the well-known centerfold in Esquire, New York, 1932. Sold March 31, 2016 for $100,000, an auction record.

     Ephemera and historical documents are bringing in record prices at auction right now. In this particular case, the following information was provided by Arielle Bremby at Swann:

     The 20th Anniversary auction for our Printed & Manuscript African Americana department was a resounding success, led by pioneering illustrator E. Simms Campbell's original pen and brush illustration A Night-Club Map of Harlem, which sold for $100,000.

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