Hurricane Ida Levels Historic ‘Second Home’ To Louis Armstrong
Hurricane Ida is long gone but the pain and anguish that she left are still present in Southeastern Louisiana. While we know that there is not one loss that is greater than the other, a piece of New Orleans jazz history was lost on Sunday evening.
As Hurricane Ida was reeking her havoc on the city of New Orleans it tore down an iconic piece of history that has been standing in the city since 1913.
The Karnofsky Music Store was more than just a music store, it was a place where musicians could come and hang out and many of them did. Among those musicians was none other than Louis Armstrong.
Louis Armstrong worked for the Karnofskies as a courier before he became the famous jazz musician the world came to love. The Karnofsky family was a Jewish family from Eastern Europe, who opened a tailor shop in that building. They employed Armstrong but also loved him. Louis Armstrong spent much of his time at the family’s residence which was above the shop. Louis ate meals with them and even became best friends with one of the sons, Morris Karnofsky. Morris was actually the one who opened the Music store in the building several years later. The Karnofskies have even been credited for Louis Armstrong’s legacy, as they were the ones who loaned him the money so that he could buy his first cornet.
"In Louis Armstrong's biography he recalls the Karnofsky family with great pleasure and says ... that he still has matzo in his kitchen because he loved to eat Jewish food at the Karnofskys,The Karnofskys were a tremendous, warm influence in his life." -reported by musicologist, John Baron.
The building has been vacant for some time now but it was on the National Register of Historic Places. Over the years there have been many efforts to restore the building but nothing has ever come of that.
Unfortunately, now all that is left of this historic building are piles of bricks and a story. It is my greatest hope that someone tries to revive the Karnofsky store and the legend that it holds.
I was able to locate a great video that explains the history of this building along with the history of South Rampart Street.
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