New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Monday, December 18, 2017
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Jazz was born & bred at Milneburg, Spanish Fort, Little Woods, Bucktown, and West End. In later years Jazz, the Blues, Soul, & Rock could be heard at Pontchartrain Beach & Lincoln Beach Amusement Parks. Click on the photos (below) to view larger versions.


1900s - Early jazz musicians of all races and economic classes performed in groups at the lakefront

The Lake Pontchartrain shore includes Bucktown, West End, Spanish Fort, Milneburg, and Little Woods. Historically, the lakefront was a resort area where brass bands played at amusement parks, dance pavilions, saloons, picnics, and family camps (i.e., cabins on piers for weekend retreats). Early jazz musicians of all races and economic classes performed in groups at the lakefront, which was important as a place where musical ideas and techniques were shared and mixed. Joseph Sharkey Bonano was born in Milneburg. Most of the lakefront relating to jazz history was irreversibly altered in the late 1920s when the shoreline from West End to the east of Milneburg (more than 5 1/2 miles) was extended about 2,000 feet into Lake Pontchartrain. Important sites that were obliterated by the reclamation project and other efforts included Tranchina's and the Tokyo Gardens at Spanish Fort, the boardwalk and stilt camps at Milneburg, and the West End Roof Garden. Only a few isolated and altered structures related to early jazz remain today. Source: http://www.nps.gov/neor/map_area_hist.html#lake Sharkey Bonano was one of the most charismatic and beloved jazz men of old New Orleans. His charismatic singing and trumpet playing draw comparisons to Louis Prima (he even starred in a band with Prima's brother Leon in the 1930s) but his sound and personality was indisputabley his own. Tbis record label is from a rare locally produced 78rpm single of "Farewell Blues" signed on the label by Bonano.

1900s - Early jazz musicians of all races and economic classes performed in groups at the lakefront

1877-1931 - Buddy Bolden #1

"Around the turn of the century, when the great Buddy Bolden was the king of New Orleans jazz, the legendary musician played his cornet all over town: Rampart and Perdido streets, Uptown, the lakefront and across the river." Source: Gambit Weekly-Blake Pontchartrain http://www.gambit-no.com/1998/0901/blak.html Deeper, deeper, Buddy Bolden plunged into his music...He dominated...New Orleans, playing at saloons, lakefront parties... Source: New Orleans Music Online http://www.neworleansonline.com/music/bolden.shtml Bolden played for dances, for pinics out at Milneburg, (Jelly Roll Morton says that he most surprising thing that happened to him in connection with the misspelling fo the name Milneburg was a long letter from a patriotic German citizen who was pleased that someone from the States had celebrated the Joys of the German City Milenburg with such wonderful jazz) for parties at Johnson Park (when Buddy Bottle used to make his balloon ascensions)... Source: http://home.att.net/~joeshepherd/jazz/jazz13.html Buddy Bolden is considered by many to be "The Father of Jazz".

1877-1931 - Buddy Bolden #1

1884--1954 - Oscar (Papa) Celestin

In 1954 "Lincoln Beach opened to a throng of 10,000 eager citizens, who spilled onto the elaborately landscaped midway and gathered around the stage where Papa Celestin's jazz band played... Source: New Orleans Magazine Pictured is the Original Tuxedo Jazz Orchestra -- Left to Right: Bill Matthews, Guy Kelly, Papa Celestin, Jeanette Salvant, Narvin Kimball, Joe Lawrence, Chinee Foster, Joe Rouzon, Simon Marrero, Clarence Hall by Ted Gottsegen Papa Celestin was one of the most popular of New Orleans cornetists and considered a major player in the development of jazz. Arriving in New Orleans in 1906, Celestin became a member of Henry Allen Sr.’s Excelsior band in 1908. In 1910 Celestin started the Original Tuxedo Jazz Orchestra which would become one of the most enduring bands with musicians like Peter Bocage, Louis Armstrong, Bebe Ridgley, Lorenzo Tio, Jr and Isidore Barbarin (guitarist Danny Barker’s grandfather). He began recording with his own groups for Okeh until the depression forced him to give-up the group. During World War II he was found working in a shipyard. After the war Celestin reformed his band and began recording for various companies and doing live broadcasts from local radion stations. He was also a mainstay and tourist attraction on Bourbon Street until his death. In view of the tremendous contribution Celestin made in jazz throughout his lifetime, the Jazz Foundation of New Orleans had a bust made and donated to the Delgado Museum in New Orleans. Source: http://www.redhotjazz.com/papa.html

1884--1954 - Oscar (Papa) Celestin

1884-1934 - Alcide (Yellow) Nunez

The Moonlight Serenaders...played regularly along the lakefront north of New Orleans at places like Milenburg and Little Woods. They accompanied the Boswell Sisters early in their carrer. Source: http://www.geocities.com/BourbonStreet/5135/WCBE.html

1884-1934 - Alcide (Yellow) Nunez

1885-1938 - Joe (King) Oliver

"West End Blues was a sleepy southern blues tune written by Joe "King" Oliver, until it came into the hands of trumpeter Louis Armstrong...in the late 1920's...and changed musical history." Source: National Public Radio's 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century. Joe "King" Oliver is one of the most important figures in early Jazz...his style ...collective improvisation (rather than solos). He was the mentor and teacher of Louis Armstrong. Louis idolized him and called him Papa Joe. Oliver even gave Armstrong the first cornet that Louis was to own. Oliver was blinded in one eye as a child, and often played while sitting in a chair, or leaning against the wall, with a derby hat tilted so that it hid his bad eye. Joe was famous for his using mutes, derbys, bottles, and cups to alter the sound of his cornet.

1885-1938 - Joe (King) Oliver

1873-1966 - (Papa) Jack Laine

Jack Papa Laine is often credited with being the first White Jazz musician. All were part of a broad pool of white ragtime musicians active in New Orleans before 1920; at its social and musical center was the drummer and musical contractor Jack "Papa" Laine. A few among very many: cornetists Johnny Lala, Manuel Mello, Pete Dietrans, Gus Zimmermann, Abbie Brunies, and Emile Christian (who later toured on trombone with the Original Dixieland Jazz Band); brothers George and Henry Brunies on trombones, clarinetists Shields, Nunez, and Nunzio Scaglione, and the Brown brothers, Tom (trombone) and Steve (tuba). His "Reliance" bands were particularly active in the seasonal social life of the Lake Pontchartrain south shore. Laine claimed to have had one of the only two bands in New Orleans to play in the ragtimey, cusp-of-jazz style. Similarly, he was loath to admit that black musicians had had any effect on his music--an attitude paralleling the claims of some black musicians that whites had no influence on them. To suggest that either group worked in isolation from the other contravenes an overwhelming body of scholarly and anecdotal documentation about New Orleans life, musical and social. Source: http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/sudhalter-chords.html He was a drummer and saxophonist. He formed his first brass band in 1888. The band to performed Ragtime and marching music. He went on to lead the Reliance Brass Band, which became popular enough for him to have several units playing under that name. Many of the early New Orlean's White Jazz musicians such as, Tom Brown, Johnny Stein, Albert and George Brunies, Tony Parenti, Nick La Rocca and all of the other members of the Original Dixleland Jass Band played in the Reliance Brass Band at one time or the other. In 1917, Laine quit music and worked as a blacksmith, and later managed a garage. He never recorded. Source: http://www.redhotjazz.com/laine.html

1873-1966 - (Papa) Jack Laine

1886-1973 - Edward (Kid) Ory

Kid Ory was the greatest trombone player in the early years of Jazz. He originally played banjo, but then switched to trombone. Perhaps his banjo playing helped shape the "tailgate" style of playing he later developed on the trombone. In the "tailgate" style, the trombone plays a rhythmic line underneath the trumpets and cornets. From 1912 to 1919 he led one of the most popular bands in New Orleans. Ory's Band featured many of the great musicians who would go on to define the Hot Jazz style. A various times, King Oliver, a young Louis Armstrong ,Johnny Dodds, Sidney Bechet and Jimmie Noone all played in Ory's band. In 1919 Ory relocated to California for health reasons. He assembled a new group of New Orleans musicians on the West Coast and played regularly under the name of Kid Ory's Creole Orchestra. In 1922 they became the first black jazz band to record. They used the name of "Spike's Seven Pods of Pepper Orchestra" and recorded the songs "Ory's Creole Trombone" and "Society Blues".

1886-1973 - Edward (Kid) Ory

1888-1943 - Armond ( A.J.) Piron

Armond ( A.J.) Piron () "...the "society" band. These groups, such as the bands led by A. J. Piron and John Robichaux, worked at prestigious locations like Tranchina's restaurant and gambling rooms on Lake Pontchartrain..." Source: James Lincoln Collier The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Macmillan Reference Ltd 1988 From 1918-1928 Piron along with Peter Bocage formed the A.J.Piron & his Novelty Orch., and played at Tranchina's Restaurant in Spanish Fort, on Lake Pontchartrain, LA. Source: DIXIELAND JAZZ http://nfo.net/.WWW/JOB.html Piron...played for many years at the New Orleans Country Club on Lake Pontchartrain... http://www.redhotjazz.com/piron.html

1888-1943 - Armond ( A.J.) Piron

1888-1958 - Tom Brown

Brown claimed to be the first to use the word "Jass" to descibe the music that was coming out of New Orleans. For a while, both black and white bands had found plenty of seasonal employment at the beachfront restaurants, pavilions, and cabarets lining the south shore of 635-square-mile Lake Pontchartrain, less than five miles north of the city. Tom Brown's band was even one of the few that got to play on the excursion steamers that took tourists to the more exclusive north shore. But Pontchartrain's heyday ran in cycles, subject to sometimes violent weather and changing fashion. It ended forever when, in the mid-1920s, construction began on a seawall to extend the existing shoreline out several hundred feet, protecting it from storms and flooding--and leaving the former resort area stranded inland. Source: http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/sudhalter-chords.html Like most early White New Orleans Jazz musicians, trombonist Tom Brown was a veteran of Papa Jack Laine's Reliance. Brown's Dixieland Jass Band consisted of Tom Brown on trombone; his brother Steve on bass, Ray Lopez on cornet; William Lambert on drums; Arnold Loyacano on guitar; and Larry Sheilds on clarinet. Once in New York, Brown's clarinetist, Larry Sheilds exchanged jobs with Yellow Nuñez who had just been fired from The Original Dixieland Jass Band. Nuñez joined Browns band. In New Orleans he played with Johnny Bayersdorffer and his Jazzola Novelty Orchestra. Source: http://www.redhotjazz.com/brown.html

1888-1958 - Tom Brown

1889-1961 - Dominic (Nick) LaRocca

The Italian Connection? ...all citizens had access to the music which was performed on the streets, at the camps at West End, and in the cabarets and dance halls...The Original Dixieland Jass Band (ODJB) was, in 1917, the first jazz group to be recorded. It included Nick LaRocca and Tony Sbarbaro. Other notable Italian jazz originators are Leon Roppolo, Tony Parenti, Charlie Scaglioni, Santo Pecora, Sherwood Mangiapane, Joseph Manone, Curly Lizana, Charlie Cordilla, Joseph "Wingy" Manone, Sharkey Bonano, Tony Parenti, and Louis Prima. Source: http://members.aol.com/ODJBjazz/odjbhistory.html

1889-1961 - Dominic (Nick) LaRocca

1897-1959 - Sidney Bechet

After 1870...the area (Milneburg) evolved into an entertainment district, as the city's passenger train, the Smoky Mary, began carrying more middle-class visitors to the resort. Entertainment included jazz, with Sidney Bechet, Louis Armstrong and Danny Barker performing. An Excerpt from the 1999 Land Use Plan New Orleans City Planning Commission Sidney Bechet was a child prodigy in New Orleans. He was such good clarinet player that he featured by some of the top bands in the city, when he was still a child. Bechet's style of playing clarinet and soprano sax dominanted many of the bands that he was in. He played lead parts that were usually reserved for trumpets and was a master of improvisation. In 1939, Bechet played saxophone & sang with Jelly Roll Morton's New Orleans Jazzmen.

1897-1959 - Sidney Bechet

1900-1971 - Louis Armstrong #1

"It was a lakeside summer spot in New Orleans that inspired the song that would become one of the world's great Jazz masterpieces." The song was Armstrong's recording of "West End Blues" As part of the NPR (National Public Radio) 100 Review of the 20th Century's most important American musical works, NPR's John Burnet traveled to New Orleans in search of the source of Jazz genius..." Excerpt from National Public Radio's 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century Photo Credit: http://www.redhotjazz.com/louie.html Source: National Public Radio's 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century.

1900-1971 - Louis Armstrong #1

1902-1943 - Leon Roppolo #1

Leon Roppolo was considered a genius by his contemporaries and like Bix Beiderbecke and Buddy Bolden, he was another of the tragic young men of early Jazz. He is remembered as being a pioneer of the jazz solo, as opposed to the collective improvisation of most New Orleans bands and for his lyrical and modern clarinet and alto saxophone playing. He was born in Lutcher Louisiana, upriver from New Orleans. His family moved to New Orleans about 1912 with in a year or two he was playing music professionally at Lake Pontchartrain and Bucktown." Source: http://www.redhotjazz.com/roppolo.html

1902-1943 - Leon Roppolo #1

The New Orleans Owls #1

The New Orleans Owls played regularly at hotels in New Orleans between 1922 and 1929. They were one of only a handful of bands that were recorded in the city of New Orleans in the 1920s (1924-"Sailing on Lake Pontchartrain, 1926-"West End Romp"). The band decended from The Invincibles String Band which had been playing around New Orleans since 1912. For a time Irvine (Pinky) Vidocovich played with the Owls

The New Orleans Owls #1

1909-1994 - Danny Barker

In 1926, Al Broussard organized a 12-piece jazz and dance band. His ensemble, which included Danny Barker, Don Albert and Father Al Lewis, would perform at dances held near Lake Pontchartrain. Source: Gambit Weekly Online 04-24-01 http://www.bestofneworleans.com/archives/2001/0424/feat-arts.html

1909-1994 - Danny Barker

Johnny Bayersdorffer

Tokyo Gardens Ballroom was situated in the resort at Spanish Fort...Among the jazz groups that performed there was a band led by the cornetist Johnny Bayersdorffer...in the summer of 1924. Source: http://www.xrefer.com/entry.jsp?xrefid=628454&secid=.101.- Pictured are Johnny Bayersdorffer and his Jazzola Novelty Orchestra 1922. Left to Right: Chink Martin, Tom Brown, Johnny Bayersdorffer, Leo Adde, Johnny Miller, Steve Loyacano, Nunzio Scaglione.

Johnny Bayersdorffer

1922-1974 - Frank Assunto

In 1946 a 14 year old Frank Assunto along with his 17 year old brother Fred began playing on Saturday's at Mama Lou's Seafood restaurant and sometimes across the river at the Moonlight Inn along with other youngsters on Saturday nights.

1922-1974 - Frank Assunto

1884-1934 - Alcide (Yellow) Nunez #2

"Alcide Nunez played with a band called "The Moonlight Serenaders" over local radio station WCBE. I think this photo is from about 1927. Nunez is at the far left. Second from left is Carl W. Satter. Third from left is banjo player Frank Chappetta. Fourth from left is drummer John Malloy.* I have a few guesses, but no positive identifications of the other musicians. Any help is welcome; email froggy@neosoft.com In 1928 WCBE moved their studios to the DeSoto Hotel and changed their call letters to WDSU. Some locals may know that WDSU is still in business. In addition to the WCBE job, The Moonlight Serenaders are said to have broadcast on WWL radio, played regularly along the lakefront north of New Orleans at places like Milenburg and Little Woods. They accompanied the Boswell Sisters early in their carrer.* Source: http://www.geocities.com/BourbonStreet/5135/WCBE.html

1884-1934 - Alcide (Yellow) Nunez #2

1884-1934 - Alcide (Yellow) Nunez #3

Alcide P. Nunez, wife Hilda, and children Alcidie, Robert, and Eugene at Little Woods, New Orleans. Around 1930. Source: http://www.geocities.com/BourbonStreet/5135/WCBE.html

1884-1934 - Alcide (Yellow) Nunez #3

1888-1943 - Armond ( A.J.) Piron's New Orleans Orchestra

Piron joined Papa Celestin's Tuxedo Orchestra in 1916 and started Piron's New Orleans Orchestra in 1918. The band traveled to New York in 1923 and returned the following year to play at the Roseland Ballroom. Piron returned to New Orleans and played for many years at the New Orleans Country Club on Lake Pontchartrain, in night clubs, and on Mississippi river boats. Armand Piron's New Orleans Orchestra was one of the most popular bands in New Orleans in the 1920s. They travelled to New York and played at the Cotton Club and Roseland in 1923. They also recorded two songs with Blues singer Esther Bigeou while in New York, including a fine vocal version of West Indies Blues.

1888-1943 - Armond ( A.J.) Piron's New Orleans Orchestra

Bucktown Five

The name of the band has an intersting link with New Orleans, for Bucktown was the name of the settlement which opened on the near shore of Lake Ponchartrain soon after the closing of Storyville, and which became a smaller edition of that famous district. Hence, of course, the title of a well-known jazz tune Bucktown Stomp. Nearly eighteen months later virtually the same group recorded in Chicago under the name of the Stomp Six. Taken from the book Recorded Jazz: A Critical Guide by Rex Harris and Brian Rust.

Bucktown Five

1922-1974 - Frank Assunto #2

Frank Assunto recalled those days at Mama Lou's saying they were paid $3 each a night but since none of them were old enough to drive a car the cab fare to and from took most of their money. But they got what was in the "kitty" (a tip jar) and sessions lasted from 10pm until 2am with one break at midnight when the budding young musicians could go into the kitchen and eat all the seafood they could hold. Broke, but well fed was Frank's summation of those early days. A young Pete Fountain was often a member of this band. By 1947 the band was reorganized as the Basin Street Four, Five or Six depending on how many members could be rounded up. They played for the sheer pleasure after high school and where ever else they could. The weekend gigs continued at the seafood place. Source: http://www.thedukesofdixieland.com/bandhistory.htm

1922-1974 - Frank Assunto #2

Tom Brown

For a while, both black and white bands had found plenty of seasonal employment at the beachfront restaurants, pavilions, and cabarets lining the south shore of 635-square-mile Lake Pontchartrain, less than five miles north of the city. Tom Brown's band was even one of the few that got to play on the excursion steamers that took tourists to the more exclusive north shore. But Pontchartrain's heyday ran in cycles, subject to sometimes violent weather and changing fashion. It ended forever when, in the mid-1920s, construction began on a seawall to extend the existing shoreline out several hundred feet, protecting it from storms and flooding--and leaving the former resort area stranded inland. Source: http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/sudhalter-chords.html Like most early White New Orleans Jazz musicians, trombonist Tom Brown was a veteran of Papa Jack Laine's Reliance. Around 1910 he organized his own band called Brown's Ragtime Band. In 1915 he took the band North to Chicago making him the first to bring a White Jazz band north from New Orleans. Brown claimed to be the first to use the word "Jass" to descibe the music that was coming out of New Orleans. The legend goes like this; The word "Jass" was some vague slang for sex, and was associated with prostitution. Tom Brown's band had come North from New Orleans in 1915 and was playing a successful engagement at Lamb's Cafe (located at Clark and Randolph Streets) against the wishes of the Chicago musician's union. The term "Jass" was used by the union as a way to denigrate the band. In defiance of union Brown and the club owner started advertising the band as Brown's Band From Dixieland . The union's insults backfired increasing the popularity of the group and causing the term "Jass" to forever to be used to describe the New Orleans style of collective improvisation. Brown's Dixieland Jass Band consisted of Tom Brown on trombone; his brother Steve on bass, Ray Lopez on cornet; William Lambert on drums; Arnold Loyacano on guitar; and Larry Sheilds on clarinet. The band travelled to New York and had a successful run in 1916, but then broke up. Brown returned briefly to New Orleans, but booking agents in New York were still contacting him wanting a "Jass" band. He recommended another White New Orleans Jazz band, Stein's Dixieland Jass Band that was playing in Chicago at the time. Johnny Stein was under contractual obligation in Chicago and couldn't make it, but the rest of the band decided that this was to good of an offer to pass up and left Stein holding the bag in Chicago. In New York the group became The Original Dixieland Jass Band, an obvious attempt to associate themselves with Brown's Band From Dixieland. Brown got another band together and got a gig at New York's Century Theatre as part of Town Topics revue in 1916 where they were billed as The Five Rubes. Once in New York, Brown's clarinetist, Larry Sheilds exchanged jobs with Yellow Nuñez who had just been fired from The Original Dixieland Jass Band. Nuñez joined Browns band. While in New York Tom Brown took part in a number of recording sessions which included the Happy Six, Yerke's Jazzarimba Orchestra, The Kentucky Seranaders, and with Ray Miller's Black and White Melody Boys. Brown couldn't keep his band together in New York, and returned to Chicago where he lead bands and work as a sideman before he returned to New Orleans and opened a music shop. In New Orleans he played with Johnny Bayersdorffer and his Jazzola Novelty Orchestra. He continued to play in a variety of bands in New Orleans for the rest of his life while also running his store. In 1955 and 1958 recorded for the first time under his own name. These sessions are avaliable on CD from GBH records under the name of Tom Brown and his New Orleans Jazz Band. Source: http://www.redhotjazz.com/brown.html

Tom Brown

1890-1941 - Ferdinand (Jelly Roll) Morton

Jelly Roll Morton was was the first great composers and piano players of Jazz. An interesing quote from Jelly Roll, talking about his recordings (records): "Why would anyone be interested in those old things?" He wrote "Pontchartrain" and recorded "Bucktown Blues". From 1926-1930, Jelly Roll Morton and the Red Hot Peppers band included Jazz greats Baby Dodds(drums), Johnny Dodds (clarinet), Kid Ory (trombone), and Johnny St. Cyr (banjo & guitar)--all born in New Orleans. Sources: Asbol Repertoire http://www.redhotjazz.com/jellyroll.html

1890-1941 - Ferdinand (Jelly Roll) Morton

1899-1972 - Gustave Joseph (Sharkey) Bonano

Sharkey Bonano was one of the most charismatic and beloved jazz men of old New Orleans. His charismatic singing and trumpet playing draw comparisons to Louis Prima (he even starred in a band with Prima's brother Leon in the 1930s) but his sound and personality was indisputabley his own. A powerful, hot trumpeter, Bonano played in and around his home-town as a teenager. According to Margo Duplantier Rhinehart (Sharkey's great-grand niece) "The family spells his name: Gustave Joseph Bonano. According to his older sister, Marie Bonano Quarrella, Sharkey was born on April 9, 1898, but his death notice indicates he was mostly likely born in 1899. Also, he was born in New Orleans not Milneburg. He spent a lot of time with his sister Marie Quarrella and played his jazz music at Marie and, her husband, John Quarrella's establishments in Milneburg. After John's early death (1922), Marie's family (I assume this meant Sharkey too) moved to Milneburg to help Marie run the various family businesses. Source: http://www.sonicnet.com/artists/ai_bio.jhtml?ai_id=504502 and Margo Duplantier Rhinehart.

1899-1972 - Gustave Joseph (Sharkey) Bonano

1889-1970 - Ray Lopez

Ray Lopez and Tom Brown (1888-1958) had done pretty well at home, providing music for dances at Tulane University, at the stately homes of the New Orleans Garden District, at such prestigious locations as the Young Men's Gymnastic Club; they played regularly for picnics and parties out at Lake Pontchartrain--and even the occasional evening down in "the District," known to posterity as Storyville, home of bars, brothels, and various other nocturnal amusements. For a while, both black and white bands had found plenty of seasonal employment at the beachfront restaurants, pavilions, and cabarets lining the south shore of 635-square-mile Lake Pontchartrain, less than five miles north of the city. Tom Brown's band was even one of the few that got to play on the excursion steamers that took tourists to the more exclusive north shore. But Pontchartrain's heyday ran in cycles, subject to sometimes violent weather and changing fashion. It ended forever when, in the mid-1920s, construction began on a seawall to extend the existing shoreline out several hundred feet, protecting it from storms and flooding--and leaving the former resort area stranded inland. Source: CHAPTER ONE Lost Chords White Musicians and Their Contribution to Jazz, 1915-1945 By RICHARD M. SUDHALTER Oxford University Press http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/sudhalter-chords.html

1889-1970 - Ray Lopez

Well before the Civil War,

the city also exhibited what the New Orleans Picayune called "a real mania for horn and trumpet playing," and dance musicians often doubled in the marching bands that seemed always to be playing somewhere in town ? entertaining picnickers in the parks or along the southern shore of Lake Pontchartrain, waging what one observer called "a windy war" by blaring different airs from the decks of steamboats anchored side by side, escorting mourners to and from the cemetery "preceded, followed and hemmed in on every side by a... collection of all colors, sexes and conditions." Source: JAZZ A Film by Ken Burns http://www.pbs.org/jazz/places/places_new_orleans.htm

Well before the Civil War,

1930 - Pete Fountain

In 1946 a 14 year old Frank Assunto along with his 17 year old brother Fred began playing on Saturday's at Mama Lou's Seafood restaurant and sometimes across the river at the Moonlight Inn along with other youngsters on Saturday nights. Frank Assunto recalled those days at Mama Lou's saying they were paid $3 each a night but since none of them were old enough to drive a car the cab fare to and from took most of their money. But they got what was in the "kitty" (a tip jar) and sessions lasted from 10pm until 2am with one break at midnight when the budding young musicians could go into the kitchen and eat all the seafood they could hold. Broke, but well fed was Frank's summation of those early days. A young Pete Fountain was often a member of this band. By 1947 the band was reorganized as the Basin Street Four, Five or Six depending on how many members could be rounded up. They played for the sheer pleasure after high school and where ever else they could. The weekend gigs continued at the seafood place. Source: http://www.thedukesofdixieland.com/bandhistory.htm

1930 - Pete Fountain

The New Orleans Owls #2

In 1924 the Owls recorded SAILING ON LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN--Sheet music by Nell & Bill Wrigley; words by Emmett Walsh, Jr. Atlanta, GA.: Piedmont Music Co. (1924); pp 5. The recording (78rpm) was listed in Brian Rust's JAZZ RECORDS, 1897-1931. The band at that time consisted of Bill Padron on cornet; Benjie White on clarinet; Lester Smith on tenor; Mose Farrar on piano; Rene Gelpi on banjo; Dan LeBlanc on bass; and Earl Crumb on drums.

The New Orleans Owls #2

The New Orleans Owls #3

Cover of 1924 Recording, "Sailing on Lake Pontchartrain".

The New Orleans Owls #3

1900-1971 - Louis Armstrong #3

~ West End Blues was a sleepy southern blues tune written by Joe "King" Oliver, until it came into the hands of trumpeter Louis Armstrong...in the late 1920's...and changed musical history. Oliver named it for the West End of New Orleans--a popular picnic and entertainment area on Lake Pontchartrain... Billie Holiday wrote in her autopbiography that she "never heard anyone sing before without using words"... As part of the NPR (National Public Radio) 100 Review of the 20th Century's most important American musical works, NPR's John Burnet traveled to New Orleans in search of the source of Jazz genius..." Excerpt from National Public Radio's 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century Photo Credit: http://www.redhotjazz.com/louie.html

1900-1971 - Louis Armstrong #3

1900-1971 - Louis Armstrong #2

1928 The Music of the Hot Five and The Hot Seven is considered by most critics to be among the finest recordings in Jazz history. The band included Johnny St. Cyr, Kid Ory, Louis Armstrong, Johnny Dodds, and Lil Hardin-Armstrong, In 1928, they recorded "West End Blues" (written by King Oliver) in Chicago for Okeh Records. Source: The Red Hot Jazz Archive http://www.redhotjazz.com/hot5.html The Music of the Hot Five and The Hot Seven is considered by most critics to be among the finest recordings in Jazz history. Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra also recorded West End Blues in 1939. The band included Paul Barbarin and Sidney Bechet.

1900-1971 - Louis Armstrong #2

1902-1943 - Leon Roppolo #2

Leon Roppolo The Friars Society Orchestra ( also known as the New Orleans Rhythm Kings) site navigation New Orleans History~~Lake Pontchartrain Jazz Leon Roppolo was considered a genius by his contemporaries and like Bix Beiderbecke and Buddy Bolden, he was another of the tragic young men of early Jazz. He is remembered as being a pioneer of the jazz solo, as opposed to the collective improvisation of most New Orleans bands and for his lyrical and modern clarinet and alto saxophone playing. He was born in Lutcher Louisiana, upriver from New Orleans. His family moved to New Orleans about 1912 with in a year or two he was playing music professionally at Lake Pontchartrain and Bucktown. audio milne joys.ram Hear Milneburg Joys (Leon Rappolo, Paul Mares, and Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton) Recorded by the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, Richmond, Indiana, July 18, 1923 featuring Morton at the piano. The piece is named after the Milneburg Resort on Lake Pontchartrain five miles north of downtown New Orleans. 1922-1935 Leon Roppolo's bandThe Friars Society Orchestra (was also known as the New Orleans Rhythm Kings). At one time the band included Jelly Roll Morton. The New Orleans Rhythm Kings were heavily influenced by King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band and became the first group to put out a "racially mixed" Jazz record in 1923 with "Sobbin' Blues", featuring Jelly Roll Morton. They recorded Milneburg Joys (Leon Rappolo, Paul Mares, and Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton) as the New Orleans Rhythm Kings in Richmond, Indiana on July 18, 1923-- featuring Morton at the piano. The piece is named after the Milneburg Resort on Lake Pontchartrain five miles north of downtown New Orleans.

1902-1943 - Leon Roppolo #2

1877-1931 - Buddy Bolden #2

Standing, left to right: Jimmy Johnson, Buddy Bolden, Willie Cornish, William Warner. Sitting, left to right: Jefferson Mumford and Frank Lewis. Buddy Bolden, considered the "father of jazz," was born in New Orleans in 1877 and died in 1931. The peak of his career was from 1890 to 1920. He played music at Milneburg and other lakeshore resorts. First of the great New Orleans jazz figures was Buddy Bolden, a barber who blew his horn to glory. Deeper, deeper, Buddy Bolden plunged into his music...He dominated...New Orleans, playing at saloons, lakefront parties... Buddy made up one song after another His playing had one feature that later jazz authorities recognized as indispensable- "the trance,' and ability to sink himself in the music until nothing mattered but himself and the cornet, in fervent communion. As the 1900s approached...a small, bulkily built boy listened nightly to the silver magic of Buddy's notes. Nobody paid any attention to him then. He was young Louis Armstrong. The New Orleans sound had begun around 1900 with brass ensembles which, like ragtime, took the marching military bands as their models. In addition to cornets, trombones, and an occasional tuba these groups included clarinets, banjos or guitars, and fiddles. The bass and the piano were excluded because of their size, although the piano was a popular solo instrument in the dives, honky-tonks, and 'sporting houses." Buddy Bolden's band with Bunk Johnson was playing In honky-tonks as early as 1895, and the Olympia Brass Band existed on and off from 1900 to 1915 led by coronetist Freddie Keppard, with Joe Oliver playing second cornet and Alphonse Picou, Sidney Bechet, and Lorenzo Tio on clarinets. Oscar "Papa" Celestin formed the Original Tuxedo Orchestra in 1910. Keppard later led the Original Creole Band, while Joe 0liver worked for trombonist Kid Ory in his Brownskin Band. When Oliver left for Chicago, as Keppard had done, Louis Armstrong replaced him on coronet, There were probably a hundred of these seminal groups, and their players seemed infinitely interchangeable. All of them understood the basic premise of the music: collective improvisation. Source: New Oleans Online-Music http://www.neworleansonline.com/music/bolden.shtml Around the turn of the century, when the great Buddy Bolden was the king of New Orleans jazz, the legendary musician played his cornet all over town: Rampart and Perdido streets, Uptown, the lakefront and across the river. Source: Gambit Weekly-Blake Pontchartrain http://www.gambit-no.com/1998/0901/blak.html Buddy Bolden's music was never recorded.

1877-1931 - Buddy Bolden #2

The Red Hot Jazz Archives

Unless otherwise cited, all information, images, and audio files found in the Lake Pontchartrain Jazz pages were found at The Red Hot Jazz Archive. http://www.redhotjazz.com

The Red Hot Jazz Archives

1955 & 1956 - Elvis Was There

On Thursday, September 1, 1955 Elvis Presley perfomed onstage at Pontchartrain Beach Amusement Park. Advertising for the show stated: "The Fireball Star of Records and the famous Louisiana Hayride" is featured on this Hillbilly Jamboree honoring local DJ Red Smith, together with a 1955 "Miss Hillbilly Dumplin'" competition, in front of a crowd of 20,000 people. Source: http://www.randomhouse.com/BB/promos/elvisdaybyday/1955.html

1955 & 1956 - Elvis Was There

1958 - Elvis films King Creole

Ending scenes feature (a not entirely succesful) escape from gangsters to a Lake Pontchartrain camp off Hayne Boulevard. Footage includes views of many camps in the area.

1958 - Elvis films King Creole

1960 - Fats Domino at Lincloln Beach

National Public Radio (NPR) includes "The Fat Man's" 1955 song Ain't That a Shame in their listing of the most influential pieces of American music of the 20th century. See the link below for Nick Spitzer's profile of Fats Domino, who was born and raised in New Orleans, and learned to play rhythm and blues piano from an older relative. He had many big-selling hit songs, including Blueberry Hill, Walkin' to New Orleans, Blue Monday, and I'm Walkin'. Ain't That a Shame was his first hit not recorded in New Orleans, and it was also the first to crossover from the R&B charts to the mostly white pop charts of the day http://search.npr.org/cf/cmn/cmnps05fm.cfm?SegID=73610

1960 - Fats Domino at Lincloln Beach

1950s or 60s

Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones made a musical name for himself in New Orleans in the 1950s, and had a million seller with The Things That I Used To Do...His musical descendants include Ray Charles, James Brown, and Jimi Hendrix. On National Public Radio (NPR), Don Gonyea talks with music writer Paul Trynka about blues singer and guitarist Guitar Slim. Trynka is the editor of the London-based music magazine, Mojo (www.mojomagazine.com), and recently wrote about Slim ("Wild Thing" by Paul Trynka/March 2000). The music in this interview (click on the link below) is from the recording, Guitar Slim: Sufferin' Mind (Specialty Records, Inc./ SPCD-7007-2) (13:30). See: http://search.npr.org/cf/cmn/cmnps05fm.cfm?SegID=73534 for more information

1950s or 60s

1961 - Sam Cooke at Lincoln Beach

1961 - Sam Cooke at Lincoln Beach

1948 - Hank Williams records On the Banks of the Old Pontchartrain

HANK WILLIAMS COUNTRY MUSIC FOLIO 1948. 48 pages. Includes the song On the Banks of the Old Pontchartrain written by Hank Williams.

1948 - Hank Williams records On the Banks of the Old Pontchartrain

1880-1937 - Richard Rabbit Brown--early Blues

He was a regular at Mama Lou's on Lake Pontchartrain. If "business was slow and [Brown] need a ride home, he would turn in a false fire alarm." The firemen answered the call and found out it was only their friend, who sang to them as they went back to the station. Brown "sang to his guitar in the streets of New Orleans, and he rowed you out into Lake Pontchartrain for a fee, and sang to you as he rowed." From an essay by Kevin S. Fontenot. Source: http://www.bluesworld.com/RabbitBrown.html

1880-1937 -  Richard Rabbit Brown--early Blues

1884 - Concert Hall at Spanish Fort

From a "SOUVENIR OF NEW ORLEANS, LA..COPYRIGHTED 1884 BY WARD BROS. COLUMBUS O.". Original decorative blind-stamped deep red composite cloth, with elaborate gold giltlettering, 5.25 x 3.5 inches, illustrated with twent-four fold-out panels, un-folding to about nine feet. Published by "S. T. Blessing, No. 87 Canal Street, New Orleans--Dealer in Photographic Goods, Frames, Moldings, Picture Albums, etc. Publisher of Stereoscoptic Views of New Orleans and Louisiana Scenery."

1884 - Concert Hall at Spanish Fort

1820s - 1920s - Concert Hall & Garden at Spanish Fort

A postcard of Spanish Fort. At the rear of this print is the Spanish Fort pavilion, the site of band concerts and lectures. First built in the 1820s, Spanish fort came into its own in the 1870s and early 1880s, when the reconstruction of the old Pontchartrain Hotel and the addition of the pavilion, a casino, a theater, restaurants, gardens, bathing piers--and a railroad line connected to downtown New Orleans--drew thousands of people to the resort. Source: New Orleans Public Library--Images of the Month http://nutrias.org/~nopl/monthly/mar99/mar9912.htm

1820s - 1920s - Concert Hall & Garden at Spanish Fort

1923 - Sheet music for Milenburg Joys

Notice the mis-spelling of Milnebug. I remember my older relatives (now gone) who spoke nostalgically about "Milenburg"

1923 - Sheet music for Milenburg Joys

1927 - The Beginning of the end of Milneburg

Milneburg was the other popular early resort area on the Lake, at the terminus of the Pontchartrain Railroad line, which began operation in 1831. New Orleanians rode the famous "Smokey Mary" out to the many camps that dotted the shoreline and to the hotels, restaurants, roadhouses, shooting galleries, bathing facilities and fishing piers. It was at Milneburg's bandstands, dance halls and honky-talks that much of New Orleans' early jazz was first heard. Like Spanish Fort, Milneburg fell victim to changing tastes and to the massive construction projects undertaken by the Orleans Levee Board and the WPA in the late 1920s and 1930s. This Levee Board photograph (included among the WPA photographs of Lakefront projects) was taken on October 5, 1927 from the famous Milneburg lighthouse looking to the east after demolition of the camps and other structures that occupied the shoreline. The "after" view below, taken several years later on May 28, 1941, shows the exact same area with Pontchartrain Beach and its WPA-built bathing beach, bath house under construction, and one of two light towers built by the WPA for night swimming. Source: http://nutrias.org/~nopl/monthly/july2001/3jul01.htm

1927 - The Beginning of the end of Milneburg

1941 - VIew of Pontchartrain Beach

Pontchartrain Beach Amusement park at the old Milneburg site was the venue for many great musicians. It closed in 1983. This area is now occupied by the University of New Orleans Technology Park.

1941 - VIew of Pontchartrain Beach

1899-1972 - Gustave Joseph (Sharkey) Bonano #3

Sharkey's obituary. According to Margo Duplantier Rhinehart (who shared this) "I remember my great-grandmother being quite upset with Aunt Mildred because she did not list Sharkey's sisters (Marie Quarrella and Angelina Andry, who were both still living at the time) in the death notice."

1899-1972 - Gustave Joseph (Sharkey) Bonano #3

1899-1972 - Gustave Joseph (Sharkey) Bonano #2

Rare photo of Sharkey performing (as a wedding gift) on May 15, 1954 at the wedding reception of Sharkey's grand-niece, Phyllis Sanders and her groom, Gerald Duplantier. Phyllis is the daughter of Gladys Quarrella and Gerard Sanders. Gladys is the daughter of Marie Bonano (Sharkey's older sister) and John Quarrella. The reception was held at Lenfant's in New Orleans. Sharky is in the center of the photo. The drummer has been identified by Gladys Quarrella Sanders as Abby Brunnies. According to Margo Duplantier Rhinehart (who shared this information as well as the photo) "Marie Bonano was 10-11 years older than Sharkey. Marie told me that it was she who bought Sharkey his first cornet. I'm under the impression that Marie had a hand in Sharkey's upbringing in his later childhood. She and Sharkey were definitely close. I remember him visiting us often. Marie lived with us from before the time I was born until her death when I was age 22. Actually, we were four generations living in one house for as long as I can remember." Thanks to Margo Duplantier Rhinehart for this information and photograh.

1899-1972 - Gustave Joseph (Sharkey) Bonano #2

Tranchina's West End Hotel Restaurant

Postcard, date unknown. "Tranchina's West End Hotel Restaurant, LA." Many early Jazz greats have been documented to have played at Tranchina's.

Tranchina's West End Hotel Restaurant

1880 - West End Music Pavillion

ca. 1880 Title: West end music pavilion Creator: Lilienthal, Theodore, 1829- Description: Empty chairs set around a white gazebo at the music pavilion on Lake Pontchartrain. Rowles Stereograph Photographs Source: Louisiana State Museum http://appl005.lsu.edu/LSM.nsf/0d6463f4d93cecd68625689c00470f5c/cd4ece5c3cf94bbb862569f9004f70bf?OpenDocument

1880 - West End Music Pavillion

1928 - West End Blues Sheet Music Cover

During the hot summers in New Orleans, music fans headed to camps on Lake Ponchartrain. The camps consisted of shacks built on stilts on the lake which allowed for cooler breezes to help beat the heat and humidity. Source: http://www.jass.com/place.html

1928 - West End Blues Sheet Music Cover

1880 - Opera House at West End

ca. 1880 Title: Opera house West End Creator: Mugnier, George Fran?ois, 1855-1936 Description: Two men and a boy standing in front of pavilion. Rowles Stereograph Photographs Source: Louisiana State Museum Source: Louisiana State Museum http://appl005.lsu.edu/LSM.nsf/0d6463f4d93cecd68625689c00470f5c/8e0dd9afbe81fb6d862569f9004f7793?OpenDocument

1880 - Opera House at West End