Horn of Plenty: The Story of Louis Armstrong

Horn of Plenty: The Story of Louis Armstrong

Horn of Plenty: The Story of Louis Armstrong

Horn of Plenty: The Story of Louis Armstrong

Excerpt

The first year of little Louis Armstrong's life was spent in Jane Alley, where he was looked after by his grandmother while Willy and Mary were off at work. As soon as he could walk, he joined the swarm of neighborhood pickaninnies who passed their days in a sand lot playing cowboy, climbing fences, fighting--and running home when another of the gang hit them too hard.

Saturday night was a special night for all the family. Louis's parents, their week's work over, would fetch the child from his grandmother's and the three would go off together. While husband and wife sought to forget their troubles by drinking at one bar after another, Louis was left outside to shift for himself and he would play with similarly stranded youngsters. Their greatest pleasure consisted in gathering at the candyshop showcases and rolling their eyeballs at the fairyland display of chocolates and gum drops.

The Armstrongs led a humdrum existence: hard work all day long, and in the evening--stale bread and red beans. Mary, her dream of leaving Jane Alley no nearer realization, came to accept her lot. Now her only ambition was to be an honest servant and a good housekeeper, even if she could not call herself a happy wife. In that day as now, the domestic virtues were rated higher among the Negro families of New Orleans . . .

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