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The Wonderful Home of Louis and Lucille Armstrong

PODCAST New York City has an impressive collection of historic homes, but none as unique and joyful as the Louis Armstrong House and Museum, located in Corona, Queens.

What other historic home in the United States has aqua blue kitchen cabinets, bathroom speakers behind silver wallpaper, mirrored bathrooms and chandeliers over the bed?

The Louis Armstrong House and Museum has a charming comfort and modesty to it, befitting its legendary former occupant.

Louis and Lucille Armstrong, 1960s (SAS Scandinavian Airlines)

Louis Armstrong is one of the most influential and most popular musicians in American history. Louis, like jazz itself, was born in New Orleans; in 1943, Armstrong moved to this house in Corona, thanks to the influence of his wife Lucille Armstrong, a former Cotton Club dancer and a fascinating personality in her own right. 

In this episode Greg charts Armstrong’s path to fame — and then his journey to becoming a New Yorker. And pays a visit to the house itself, a magnificent treasure on a quiet street in Queens. Joining Greg on the show today are the museum’s executive director Regina Bain and director of guest experience Adriana Carrillo

FEATURING audio of Louis and Lucille courtesy the Louis Armstrong House and Museum. And lots of music!

LISTEN NOW: THE WONDERFUL HOME OF LOUIS ARMSTRONG

A big thanks to Ricky Riccardi, the Director of Research Collections for the Louis Armstrong House Museum, for providing all the marvelous audio clips you heard in this week’s show.

Visit the Louis Armstrong House and Museum website for further information about taking a tour and participating in other events. And head over to their Virtual Exhibits page, curated by Riccardi, for more insights and stories about Louis and Lucille.

Their website also answers the question: Is Louis’s name pronounced “Lewis” or “Louie?”

And be on the lookout later this year for the opening of the Louis Armstrong Center. The center will feature a permanent exhibition Here To Stay by Jason Moran.

Louis and Lucille at home. May 1970. Photo by Yuzo Sato. Courtesy of the Louis Armstrong House Museum.

One of Lucille Armstrong’s final interviews in 1983, recorded in her Corona home:

Lucille and Louis on the May 26, 1970 episode of “The Mike Douglas Show”:

Photo by Greg Young
Photo by Greg Young

FURTHER READING

Louis Armstrong’s New Orleans by Thomas Brothers
Satchmo: The Genius of Louis Armstrong by Gary Giddens
Heart Full of Rhythm: The Big Band Years of Louis Armstrong by Ricky Riccardi
What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong’s Later Years by Ricky Riccardi
Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong by Terry Teachout

FURTHER LISTENING

After listening to this show on the Louis Armstrong House and Museum, dig back into the back catalog and listen to these shows with similar themes

MUSICAL CUES HEARD IN THE SHOW

“When The Saints Go Marching In”
“Chimes Blues” by King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band
“Heebie Jeebies” by Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five
“Ain’t Misbehavin'” by Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five
“Weather Bird” by Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines

“La Vie En Rose”
“St. James Infirmary”
“Hello Dolly”

What A Wonderful World (With Spoken Intro”


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4 replies on “The Wonderful Home of Louis and Lucille Armstrong”

This was an awesome episode. I went down a rabbit hole of the home and it’s just as magnificent as Louis Armstrong was. Not to mention, his wife, Lucille was just as fascinating. Thanks!

Thank you, Greg. When I come to New York in April, I plan on visiting the house, thanks to you! Love the podcast, and Tom is truly wonderful on The Gilded Age podcast.
Love from Kentucky,
Janis

Loved it all! From the photo of Louis’s dog, who was a double of my childhood dog, Queenie, to Lucille Armstrong ‘s charming anecdote of how she single-handedly established their Corona home, then turned future house payments over to her husband’s care, it’s a winner. Thanks!

Just discovered you and what a great episode to start with! One error I caught: it’s not the BQE that separates the Armstrong’s neighborhood from Flushing Meadows pPark and the World’s Fair, but the Grand Central Parkway.

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