New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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1898 Gustave Joseph (Sharkey) Bonano is Born


Sharkey Bonano was one of the most charismatic and beloved jazz men of old New Orleans. His 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.

Sources:  and Margo Duplantier Rhinehart.