The Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens, New York is all decked out for the holidays.
The museum is celebrating its 10 year anniversary this year.
At this time of year, visitors can see what the house looked like when the Armstrongs were alive, including a view of all of Lucille Armstrong’s ornaments hanging on the tree.
As you walk through the home, you can hear the gravelly voice of Louis Armstrong echoing throughout the house in homemade recordings.
Here & Now spoke with Ricky Riccardi, the archivist at the Louis Armstrong House and Matt Glaser, the artistic director for the American Roots Music Program at Berklee College last year, but we had so much fun, we invited them back!
While Armstrong is undisputed as one of the great jazz musicians, his love of Christmas is less known.
“Louis Armstrong probably comes maybe in second place to Santa Claus when it comes to bringing joy during the holidays,” Riccardi tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson. “It looks just like it did when Louis and his wife, Lucille, lived there. We have put up the tree, we have put up the lights, and people have told us it’s almost eerie when they come and take the tour because it feels like Louis and Lucille are still there…there’s a real holiday spirit to the place.”
While Glaser might not share in Armstrong’s love of the holiday, he does love Armstrong’s music during the holiday.
“I’m not a big fan of the Christmas season, and Satchmo is the great anti-depressant without side effects,” Glaser says, joking. “If you have seasonal affective disorder, and the doctor prescribes Prozac, you might say, ‘Actually, I just need to listen to some Louis Armstrong swinging.’”
- Ricky Riccardi, archivist at the Louis Armstrong House. He tweets @RickyRiccardi.
- Matt Glaser, artistic director for the American Roots Music Program at Berklee College of Music.