Hidden History of Louisiana's Jazz Age
New Orleans’s early jazz greats like Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Kid Ory and Buddy Bolden reshaped the course of music history. But there was more to Louisiana’s Jazz Age than musical innovation. It was also an age of murder, lust, adventure and the irresistibly offbeat. Clarinetist Joe Darensbourg of Baton Rouge ran away and joined the circus three times before the age of twenty. The Martel Band of Opelousas witnessed a legal public hanging of a convicted serial murderer in 1923. Acadia Parish trumpeter Evan Thomas could have been a rival to Satchmo but was cut down on the bandstand in the Promised Land neighborhood of Rayne. Author Sam Irwin unearths the odd and quirky in these fascinating stories from the adolescent years of America’s music.