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Hello, Louis

March 2024
1min read

After Shirley Sponsler of Perrysburg, Ohio, read our December 2000 interview with Geoffrey C. Ward, author of last year’s public television series on jazz, she wrote us: “I was especially interested in the part about Louis Armstrong. Your article told much about him, but there was one important characteristic you didn’t mention. In 1967 my brother Bruce Burkart and his family were traveling in New England. They stopped for the night at a motel where Armstrong was playing, but since they were very tired, they didn’t go to hear him. The next morning, as they were leaving their room, they saw a bus and people crowding around it. They thought it was probably Armstrong’s, and, indeed, a moment later he appeared. Bruce and his son Kevin walked over and introduced themselves, and Armstrong talked to them for several minutes, even with all the other people around. Bruce asked if he could take a picture. Armstrong then said, ‘Yes, but wouldn’t it be better if your son were in it with me?’

“We were all touched by his kindness, and I always think of that time when I hear anything about Louis Armstrong.”

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