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Louis Armstrong: "niger, illegitimus" -- and baptized Catholic
Deacon's Bench ^ | December 23, 2008 | Deacon Greg Kandra

Posted on 12/23/2008 9:32:29 AM PST by NYer

Over at McNamara's Blog, Patrick McNamara has found another surprising bit of Catholic trivia, about one of the great popular jazz artists of the 20th century:

According to his own, cherished tradition, Louis Armstrong was an all-American jazz baby, born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on the Fourth of July 1900. He believed this to the end of his days, and so did everyone else, until a baptismal certificate confirming his actual birth date as August 4, 1901, surfaced and in the name of scholarship silenced one of the happiest legends in American popular music. Exactly three weeks after his birth, the infant was taken to Sacred Heart of Jesus Church at 139 South Lopez Street to be baptized "according to the rite of the Roman Catholic Church."

The baptismal card, signed by the Reverend J. M. Toohey, described Louis as "niger, illegitimus," apparently because his father had by that time abandoned his mother and was living with another woman. So it was that Louis Armstrong, an illegitimate black child, was baptized into the Catholic Church. Since his grandmother, Josephine, was a practicing Catholic, she was most likely the one responsible for arranging the baptism, and the earliest religious influence over him, though limited, was largely Catholic.

Although baptized as a Catholic, Louis never thought of himself as a member of the Church. He remained similarly aloof from Protestantism, the religion of his mother and other family members. Even so, he was vaguely religious, and, at times, deeply spiritual, but his approach to religious matters was always unorthodox, and he took what he wanted from Catholicism, Baptism, and Judaism, and, under his grandmother's influence, voodoo.



TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; History
KEYWORDS: armstrong; jazz

1 posted on 12/23/2008 9:32:30 AM PST by NYer
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To: Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 12/23/2008 9:33:17 AM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: NYer

Today, he’d be president


3 posted on 12/23/2008 9:34:30 AM PST by mrclean5
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To: NYer

One of the founding fathers of Jazz. Great man. He looked silly when he was blowing his horn, because he puffed his cheeks out, but he was a great man.


4 posted on 12/23/2008 9:35:59 AM PST by ichabod1 (Reagan would’ve fired them.)
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To: NYer; mrclean5

He also did admit to a marijuana habit.


5 posted on 12/23/2008 9:36:12 AM PST by sinanju
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To: mrclean5
Today, he’d be president

???What???
Was he born in Africa too? A Communist?

6 posted on 12/23/2008 9:39:12 AM PST by Bon mots
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To: ichabod1

It’s a Wonderful World.....


7 posted on 12/23/2008 9:39:53 AM PST by Dr. Ursus
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To: mrclean5
...until a baptismal certificate confirming his actual birth date as August 4, 1901, surfaced and in the name of scholarship silenced one of the happiest legends in American popular music.

Barack Hussein Obama has not presented a birth certificate OR baptismal certificate yet. But his staff professes his agnostic mother and non-practicing muslim fathers raised him as a Christian.

8 posted on 12/23/2008 9:42:18 AM PST by weegee ("Let Me Just Cut You Off, Because I Don't Want You To Waste Your Question" - B.Obama Dec 16, 2008)
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To: NYer
Wonder if Rev Toohey knew this guy

(as CNN screws over another Republican)

9 posted on 12/23/2008 9:44:00 AM PST by VeniVidiVici (All hail the Obamasiah! Kneel before Obamohammad!)
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To: ichabod1

I had a short acquaintance with Louis over the period of 4 years in my early teens. A gentleman and a superb musician. It was he who first called me “Jimbo”, a name I still use in recollection of how he treated me; a nobody.


10 posted on 12/23/2008 9:55:22 AM PST by bcsco (Illinois politicians should be read their Miranda rights when sworn in to office...)
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To: NYer
Since his grandmother, Josephine, was a practicing Catholic,
..
under his grandmother's influence, voodoo.

I take it Grandma wasn't that good of a Catholic?

11 posted on 12/23/2008 9:59:10 AM PST by Lee N. Field (Dispensational exegesis not supported by an a-, post- or historic pre-mil scholar will be ignored.)
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To: bcsco
I always loved the story about how Louis' wife bought them a house while he was on the road in the 1943, a pretty modest place in Queens. When Louis returned from off the road, all he had was an address that he had to give to the cabbie. Later, when he could afford something much nicer, he refused to move. It was the only house he'd ever lived in, after years in orphanages and hotel rooms, and he was staying put. And when he was home (which wasn't much--he played 300 nights a year), he'd sit on his front steps and play for the kids in the neighborhood.

His importance to American music can hardly be overstated. And as much as his reputation was for his trumpet playing, it's probably his singing that has been more influential.

12 posted on 12/23/2008 10:09:55 AM PST by Bubba Ho-Tep ("More weight!"--Giles Corey)
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To: mrclean5
Today, he’d be president

Not a chance. He was a great musician, accomplished businessman and deeply patriotic. He made it a point to remind people how good this country had been to him at every concert. The audience loved Louie even more than Louie loved his audiences.

Heck, I wouldn't even be surprised if he was a Republican.

I remember actually attending one of his concerts in the 1960's in Kansas City. For some reason, I remember his shiny teeth better than his music. Please cut me a little slack because I was 7 or 8 years old at the time.

13 posted on 12/23/2008 10:14:47 AM PST by Vigilanteman (Are there any men left in Washington? Or, are there only cowards? Ahmad Shah Massoud)
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To: ichabod1
He looked silly when he was blowing his horn, because he puffed his cheeks out, but he was a great man.

Might you have him confused with Dizzy Gillespie?

14 posted on 12/23/2008 10:17:27 AM PST by HIDEK6
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To: Bubba Ho-Tep
His importance to American music can hardly be overstated. And as much as his reputation was for his trumpet playing, it's probably his singing that has been more influential.

Among the public perhaps. But it was his playing that influenced many a jazz musician.

It was he and his "All Stars" who played yearly in Lake Geneva, WI at the Riviera Ballroom. That's where I met him. I got to know all those guys, the same ones in "High Society" with Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. In fact, that bus at the beginning of the movie, or one like it, was parked outside the Riviera at each concert. The only switch in band members I recall over the years was Barney Bigard sitting in for Ed Hall on clarinet once or twice. Velma Middleton was the band's singer at the time.

15 posted on 12/23/2008 10:17:44 AM PST by bcsco (Illinois politicians should be read their Miranda rights when sworn in to office...)
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To: Bubba Ho-Tep

Great pic of a great musician.


16 posted on 12/23/2008 10:17:54 AM PST by metesky (My retirement fund is holding steady @ $.05 a can.)
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To: Lee N. Field

Everyone has two grandmas, so might not have been the same one.


17 posted on 12/23/2008 10:18:06 AM PST by Vigilanteman (Are there any men left in Washington? Or, are there only cowards? Ahmad Shah Massoud)
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To: VeniVidiVici

They asked Niger Innis about that screenshot and he said, “I think they thought I was a rap singer.”


18 posted on 12/23/2008 10:18:19 AM PST by HIDEK6
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To: HIDEK6
Might you have him confused with Dizzy Gillespie?

They both puffed out their cheeks when playing. Dizzy's were more predominant that Satch's, however.

19 posted on 12/23/2008 10:19:37 AM PST by bcsco (Illinois politicians should be read their Miranda rights when sworn in to office...)
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To: ichabod1
One of the founding fathers of Jazz. Great man. He looked silly when he was blowing his horn, because he puffed his cheeks out, but he was a great man.

With all due respect, you are thinking Dizzy Gillispe.

Armstrong kept his cheeks tight.


20 posted on 12/23/2008 10:20:42 AM PST by Military family member (GO Colts!!)
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To: NYer

A great man and a great musician. I want to cry when I think of how black culture has devolved from Armstrong, Basie, Ellington, Parker and Monk into 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Ludacris.


21 posted on 12/23/2008 10:21:35 AM PST by GodBlessRonaldReagan (Wakka-ding-hoy - battle cry of the Plexus Rangers!)
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To: bcsco

I’ve seen many pictures of Louis Armstrong playing the trumpet and do not recall any showing poor tecnique.


22 posted on 12/23/2008 10:22:56 AM PST by HIDEK6
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To: GodBlessRonaldReagan
A great man and a great musician. I want to cry when I think of how black culture has devolved from Armstrong, Basie, Ellington, Parker and Monk into 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Ludacris.

It is sad. Truly sad.
23 posted on 12/23/2008 10:26:19 AM PST by Antoninus (America didn't turn away from conservatism, they turned away from many who faked it. - Mark Sanford)
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To: HIDEK6

Heh heh. Nice comeback on his part.


24 posted on 12/23/2008 10:40:47 AM PST by Free Vulcan (No prisoners. No mercy. 2010 awaits.....)
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To: sinanju

Shocking!!! Jazz musicians and marijauna...just shocking! :)

Freegards


25 posted on 12/23/2008 10:40:57 AM PST by Ransomed (Son of Ransomed Says Keep the Faith!)
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To: mrclean5

“Today, he’d be president”

Probably better than what we’re stuck with in a month.


26 posted on 12/23/2008 10:41:14 AM PST by Kirkwood
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To: GodBlessRonaldReagan
A great man and a great musician. I want to cry when I think of how black culture has devolved from Armstrong, Basie, Ellington, Parker and Monk into 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Ludacris.

Sad but true and if any of them were around today probably couldn't get any radio play.

27 posted on 12/23/2008 10:43:51 AM PST by pepperhead (Kennedy's float, Mary Jo's don't!)
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To: HIDEK6
They asked Niger Innis about that screenshot and he said, “I think they thought I was a rap singer.”

LOL!

I think I need more sleep. I meant to slam MSNBC for that, not CNN.

28 posted on 12/23/2008 10:44:21 AM PST by VeniVidiVici (All hail the Obamasiah! Kneel before Obamohammad!)
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To: HIDEK6
I’ve seen many pictures of Louis Armstrong playing the trumpet and do not recall any showing poor tecnique.

I think it was as much perspective as anything, much to do with his facial structure. When sitting in an audience you were somewhat below stage level and it did appear his cheeks were puffed out at times. See the photo below, I think you'll get an idea what I mean...

Photobucket

29 posted on 12/23/2008 10:53:31 AM PST by bcsco (Illinois politicians should be read their Miranda rights when sworn in to office...)
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To: HIDEK6
They asked Niger Innis about that screenshot and he said, “I think they thought I was a rap singer.”

Niger Innis and has dad, Roy are class guys, the kind of examples we'd like to see black kids (or ANY kids) emulate.

30 posted on 12/23/2008 10:58:18 AM PST by JimRed ("Hey, hey, Teddy K., how many girls did you drown today?" TERM LIMITS, NOW AND FOREVER!)
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To: Military family member

“Armstrong kept his cheeks tight.”
Barney Frank can take a tip from Louie.


31 posted on 12/23/2008 10:59:41 AM PST by duckman (Jesus I trust in You. Mary take over)
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To: VeniVidiVici

...or MSNBC.


32 posted on 12/23/2008 11:05:05 AM PST by fieldmarshaldj (~"This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps !"~~)
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To: Antoninus
A great man and a great musician. I want to cry when I think of how black culture has devolved from Armstrong, Basie, Ellington, Parker and Monk into 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Ludacris.

Charlie Parker was a huge drug user, dying at 36. The coroner though he was in his 60s. I love Charlie Parker, but the Bird would have been right at home with 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Ludacris.

33 posted on 12/23/2008 11:09:51 AM PST by Military family member (GO Colts!!)
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To: ichabod1

“He looked silly when he was blowing his horn, because he puffed his cheeks out” Me thinks you are remembering Dizzy Gillespie who did indeed have baloon cheeks and a horn that pointed up to boot. He was a very unorthodox horn player.

I don’t remember any of this being true about Louie though... (me being a trumpet player in my youth noticed such things..)


34 posted on 12/23/2008 11:23:14 AM PST by fremont_steve (Milpitas - a great place to be FROM!)
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To: Military family member

Hmmm, I don’t see the comparison. Parker was self-destructive, but I don’t recall him advocating anything destructive, or law-breaking in his music, or publicly in any way.


35 posted on 12/23/2008 3:31:38 PM PST by nickcarraway (Are the Good Times Really Over?)
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To: NYer

finding next to nothing of value in this one.


36 posted on 12/23/2008 3:59:33 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (appeasement is collaboration.)
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To: mrclean5
Today, he’d be president

because "niger illegitimus" is about the only qualification of the one we currently have?

37 posted on 12/23/2008 4:00:14 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (appeasement is collaboration.)
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To: the invisib1e hand

“Today, he’d be president

because “niger illegitimus” is about the only qualification of the one we currently have?”

exactly


38 posted on 12/23/2008 4:39:03 PM PST by mrclean5
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To: NYer

He and Bing Crosby were great friends according to TMC.


39 posted on 12/23/2008 6:47:08 PM PST by tiki (True Christians will not deliberately slander or misrepresent others or their beliefs)
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To: fremont_steve

No, I remember this clearly... I LOVED Louie Armstrong when I was a kid. He made me want to play the trumpet, which i did for several years. He was a showman. He moved a lot when he blew his horn, stuck his elbows out, broke all the rules for sedate classical trumpet players. He was awesome. I had no idea he was one of the fathers of Jazz until much later. I didn’t know who Dizzy Gillespie was until I was much older, and Louie was still goin, he was still goin, he was still going strong through the sixties at least.


40 posted on 12/24/2008 7:38:03 AM PST by ichabod1 (Reagan would’ve fired them.)
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To: Lee N. Field

It’s sort of a different sect... saint worship, santeria in spanish. It doesn’t necessarily include sticking pins in dolls and dancing around with bloody chickens.


41 posted on 12/24/2008 7:39:59 AM PST by ichabod1 (Reagan would’ve fired them.)
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To: Bubba Ho-Tep

I would suggest that his trumpet was what was influential to the music, his singing was what propelled him to worldwide fame and crossover fortune. Good for him. Such a lovable figure.


42 posted on 12/24/2008 7:41:30 AM PST by ichabod1 (Reagan would’ve fired them.)
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To: bcsco

Thank you. IIRC, it was the jazz style to do that, unlike the classical world which of course was very staid and proper. It was the DIXIELAND jazz style, which was all about the New Orleans joie de vivre, unlike “cool” jazz which came along later. It’s all good.


43 posted on 12/24/2008 7:46:35 AM PST by ichabod1 (Reagan would’ve fired them.)
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To: ichabod1
saint worship, santeria

makes sense, thanks.

Black lady I know, remembers her Mom doing "weird stuff" when she was a little kid. Glow in the dark rosaries -- does that sound like familiar?

44 posted on 12/24/2008 7:53:20 AM PST by Lee N. Field (Dispensational exegesis not supported by an a-, post- or historic pre-mil scholar will be ignored.)
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To: ichabod1
While Louis epitomized New Orleans jazz, he migrated to Chicago early on (his classic West End Blues was first recorded in Chicago on Okeh records in 1928). And Chicago was the start of many jazz and pop musicians of the time. Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, (the Dorsey bros. and Glen Miller also played in Goodman's early band as well as Harry James), Bud Freeman and the Austin High Gang, Eddie Condon, just to name a few.

Check out The Red Hot Jazz Archive if you haven't already for a real early jazz music experience.

45 posted on 12/24/2008 8:14:13 AM PST by bcsco (Illinois politicians should be read their Miranda rights when sworn in to office...)
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