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People, Locations, Episodes

Tue, 03.19.1895

Morris Karnofsky, Businessman born.

Morris Karnofsky

*Morris Karnofsky was born on this date in 1895.  He was a Jewish American tailor, coal and junk owner, and record store owner.

He was born in Lithuania. His family, Jewish immigrants, had roots in New Orleans, LA.  This was near Girod and Franklin Streets, a few blocks from where the family of Louis Armstrong lived. When Armstrong was seven, the Karnofskys brought him and other young Blacks to help with their growing coal and junk businesses.  When Karnofsky drove his family's wagon into Storyville to sell coal to the brothels, Louis Armstrong rode with him, blowing a little tin horn. At the time, Armstrong was just a kid from around the corner.

The Karnofsky's employed him and welcomed him into their home, often for supper. When he spotted a cornet in the window of Jake Fink's pawn shop next to the Eagle Saloon, they advanced him some pay to buy his first proper instrument.  Morris Karnofsky went on to open Morris Music, the first jazz record store in New Orleans, and when he was in town, Armstrong would stop by and see his childhood friend. Morris Karnofsky, mentor to Louis Armstrong, died on August 12, 1944. 

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