NEW ORLEANS -- "I never tried to prove nothing, just wanted to give
a good show."
That was Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong's profile of himself, the
nation's acclaimed "International Ambassador to Jazz."
New Orleans plans to give a good show of its own when it honors
its favorite son at the fourth annual Satchmo SummerFest Aug. 4 to
8 in the French Quarter. Events are free unless otherwise
The Satchmo SummerFest is becoming a favorite of music fans and
is one of the Southeast Tourism Society's Top 20 Events.
"Louis Armstrong left a lasting legacy to the city of New
Orleans and the state," said Louisiana's Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu.
"Satchmo Summerfest is more than a festival. It's a celebration of
The festival will honor the musician and cultural ambassador
with music performed by some of the top jazz musicians in the world
and will kick off with a celebration of Armstrong's 103rd birthday.
(He believed he was born on the Fourth of July, but records turned
up after his death showed his birthday was Aug. 4.)
The birthday party will be held in front of the Louis Armstrong
statue erected in 1980 in Louis Armstrong Park adjacent to the
This is not be confused with the Armstrong statue erected in
1993 across the Mississippi at the Algiers Ferry landing, where the
Robert E. Nims Jazz Walk of Fame begins.
The jazz walk runs along the river and features 60 "interactive"
lampposts, each bearing a photo of an artist (Armstrong among them)
and a button visitors can push to hear a biography and music
segment on the artist. Visitors can reach the jazz walk by taking
the free Algiers Ferry, located at Canal Street and the Mississippi
Beginning Aug. 5, the Satchmo SummerFest Seminar Series will offer
free seminars on Armstrong's life, led by jazz historians.
Among them will be George Avakian, Armstrong's producer at
Columbia Records in the 1950s and 1960s; Dan Morgenstern, director
of the Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies in Newark, N.J.; and
Michael Cogswell, director of the Louis Armstrong House and
Archives in Queens, N.Y.
Rare photos of Armstrong, many never before seen by the public,
will be displayed at the Louisiana State Museum Jazz Exhibit. The
museum's permanent collection includes a bugle and a cornet on
which Armstrong learned to play.
Three major events will take place on Aug. 6:
• The Red Beans & Ricely Yours luncheon will be held at
noon. The menu for this three-course meal features typical New
Orleans' food and music. Reservations are required. The location
and price are to be
determined. Call (504) 522-5730 or visit www.fqfi.org.
• The Satchmo Art Show will take place at the Crescent City
Brewhouse on Decatur Street from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Juried art
by local artists depicting the entertainer's life and music will be
• The Satchmo Club Strut will be featured at various jazz clubs
in New Orleans from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. For $20, lovers of jazz will
hear some of the top jazz bands in the city.
A two-day, open-air jazz festival will be held Aug. 7 and 8 on
four stages set up at the Louisiana State Museum's Old U.S. Mint,
400 Esplanade Ave. on the banks of the Mississippi River. More than
25 jazz and blues bands will perform.
According to festival officials, a number of hotels will offer
special Satchmo Summerfest rates; the names of the hotels and the
rates were not available at press time but will be listed on the
festival Web site at www.satchmosummerfest.com in July.
For additional information on the Satchmo SummerFest, call (800)
To contact the reporter who wrote this story, send e-mail to
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