[Dixielandjazz] Louis Armstrong Center Expansion in NYC

Steve Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Fri Nov 2 13:17:24 PDT 2007

Credit Norman Vickers for this information. Thanks Norman.

Steve Barbone

Officials trumpet $10M center for Louis Armstrong fans

Thursday, November 1st 2007, 4:00 AM NY Daily News.com

Jazz fans who love the "Heebie Jeebies" got a treat on Halloween, when
officials announced plans to build a new visitors center for the Louis
Armstrong House Museum in Corona. (Queens County, NY City)

The center, expected to be finished in three years, will cost nearly $10
million and feature a performance area, classroom and new home for
Armstrong's archives.

Unlike the old visitors center, which can accommodate only about 10 people
at a time, the new center will have room for about a hundred people.

After a nationwide search, Queens College - currently home to most of the
jazz great's archives - selected the noted architectural firm of Caples
Jefferson to design the new center, which will be across the street from
Armstrong's house. 

"We have the difficult task of trying to capture the man and his music, in
architecture," said Everardo Jefferson, who co-owns the firm with his wife,
Sara Caples. 

"We're both big fans of Satchmo's music," said Caples. "We're going to
listen to his music while we work on the sketches for the new center."

Armstrong and his wife, Lucille, bought the Corona house in 1943, and Louis
lived there until his death in 1971. Lucille died in 1983 and left the house
to the city. It is listed as a National Historic Landmark and a New York
City landmark. 

One of Armstrong's longtime neighbors described the iconic musician as an
average guy who would regularly play with the kids on the block.

"He'd ring the bell anytime of day," said Selma Heraldo, 84, who has lived
next door to the Armstrong house her entire life.

"Louie came over and told my mother, 'I'm tired of eating on the road. I'd
like you to scramble me up two eggs,'" Heraldo recalled. "I didn't know he
was a celebrity until his funeral because he was so down to earth."

The museum also has arranged for the acquisition of the largest private
archive of Armstrong material. The jazz great's longtime friend and personal
photographer, Jack Bradley, has agreed to give the museum his collection of
memorabilia, sound recordings, letters, clothing, photographs and personal

The Armstrong archives at Queens College also will be moved to the new


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