August 31, 2021

I only learned about Louis Armstrong and the Lithuanian-Jewish Karnofsky family a few months ago, and so was sad to see that the Karnofsky record store in New Orleans, a historical site in the history of jazz, was completely destroyed by Hurricane Ida. Via

The historic New Orleans site, where a Jewish immigrant family employed Louis Armstrong and nurtured his love for music, collapsed when Hurricane Ida hit New Orleans.

"Louis said it was the Karnofskys that instilled the love of singing in his heart," John McCusker, a retired journalist and author who championed the push for the site to be preserved and restored, said. "The family would feed him and they would eat dinner together and they would sing to get the children to sleep."

The Karnofskys loaned a young Armstrong the money for his first cornet and later turned their tailor shop into New Orleans’ first jazz record store.

The historic building at 427 S. Rampart St. is now a pile of bricks after a category 4 storm hit the City.

Louis Armstrong was very grateful to the Karnofskys, who gave him work and fed him dinner every night. They also lent him money to buy his first cornet at a pawn shop.

He wore a Star of David for the rest of his life and talked frequently of his respect for Jewish people.

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