Like many great artists, Louis Armstrong’s (1901 – 1971) childhood was troubled.
He grew up in a destitute district of New Orleans in the early 1900s, where his biological parents provided little in the way of role models. Before his first birthday his father abandoned the family, prompting his mother, Beatrice, to leave her two sons to be fostered by other family members.
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Any instability in his home life was channeled to his music, though.
By the time he was 19, he was playing in the Tuxedo Brass Band, one of the most highly regarded brass bands of New Orleans, Louisiana in the 1910s and 1920s.