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The Boys in the Bands
we had dinner. We always swapped platters of our best cooking with the French and Italians next door."
"Just over the fence"—with recipes for gumbo and for jazz-so Creole music ripened, subsidized by a relatively prosperous and tolerant Negro community. Time seemed to flow like a dreamy rhumba in Picon's and Mimf s Downtown world, but all over the South the old order, which had given status to the Creole Negro, disappeared. Poor whites were demanding and getting jobs that had formerly been Negro prerogatives. By the 1890's the Creoles of New Orleans were being pushed out of their old trades and down on the social scale. Soon they were to be practically eliminated from the skilled trades. Music had once been a hobby or at most the source of a few extra dollars; now those few dollars became the income for a family and music became a serious professional matter. On his way down the class scale the light-skinned Creole met the black-skinned American musician fighting his way out of the black ghetto. This meeting took place in Storyville, which opened in 1897 and offered regular, well-paid jobs to any musician who wasn't too proud to earn a dollar in a barrelhouse. The black Americans were in there pitching for those jobs and getting them. Just to name a few Americans who came from Uptown and gave the Downtown Creoles some trouble.
Louis Armstrong, a trampetman, who also worked on
coal carts and was- a smart hustler. Buddy Bolden, maybe the first hot trumpeter, a barber
too. Mutt Carey, one of the great trumpeters, worked by
the day sometimes. Bunk Johnson, who took over from Bolden, also drove
trucks. Joe Oliver, the King of Chicago trumpets worked as a
butler at times. Jim Robinson, a great trombone who also followed