Louisiana’s unique blend of cultures has created many important musical styles, but none more distinct than our iconic New Orleans jazz! The Big Easy has produced many talented and innovative jazz musicians, but most would agree that the most influential of these was the inimitable Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong. Louis Armstrong was born on August 4, 1901, in New Orleans, the birthplace of Jazz. Besides being an inventive trumpet player, “Satchmo” (short for “satchel mouth”, referring to his large mouth) was also a singer with one of the most recognizable voices ever heard. He died in New York City on July 6, 1971. In August, 2001, in honor of his 100th birthday, New Orleans began celebrating the life, legacy and music of her beloved native son at an extraordinary event called the Satchmo SummerFest! This year’s celebration will take place the weekend of July 31 – August 2, with most of the events presented on the grounds of the Old U.S. Mint.
This highly anticipated three-day celebration will feature over 100 of New Orleans’ top traditional and contemporary jazz musicians, as well as local brass bands. Besides all of the great music, there will be plenty of world famous New Orleans’ fare served up from some of the area’s most notable restaurants, plus some fascinating indoor events inside the Old U.S. Mint, including a never before seen exhibit called, “Satchmo: His Life in New Orleans”. Here you will be able to see not only his first cornet, but also the last trumpet he played when he made his final visit to New Orleans in 1968. There will be manuscripts, photographs, audio tapes and many more rare artifacts on display. The museum will also be presenting a series of seminars honoring this great man, and the music he so loved!
On Friday, July 31, in commemoration of the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Satchmo SummerFest will also honor those who, by replacing lost instruments, and supplying housing and other basic necessities, gave local musicians a chance to rebuild New Orleans’ rich musical history. A panel will also be on hand to discuss what has been learned since the devastating flood.
There are so many more wonderful events scheduled, including a jazz mass, a second line parade, and a bunch of educational and entertaining activities geared for children. The Satchmo SummerFest is always a party not to be missed, so come on down and join us in celebrating the man Billboard Magazine called “the single most important figure in the history of jazz,” the amazing Louis “Satchmo Armstrong!
Admission: $5.00 / Children: Free