Canal Street Blues

1927© Music by Joe “King” Oliver and Louis Armstrong

Joe “King” Oliver * Abend, La Dec 19, 1885
† Savannah, Ga Apr 8, 1938
Louis Armstrong  * New Orleans, La Aug 4,1901
† New York City, Ny Jul 6, 1971

On April 5 1923 the first record date of Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, the band  recorded this piece.

Canal Street—at 170 feet six inches the widest business district street in the country—was never paved curb-to-curb for the use of ordinary vehicles.  It originated as a “commons” area between the original city, also called the French Quarter or Vieux Carré, and the American Quarter, which grew immediately upriver.  In the early 1800s, a canal was supposed to have been built down the middle of this commons, 50 feet wide, connecting the Mississippi River to the Basin Canal (also called the Carondelet Canal).  The latter canal, now filled in, formed a connection to Lake Ponchartrain, running from Bayou St. John to Basin Street, where it ended in a large turning basin.  The plan called for 60 feet of reservation on each side of the new canal.  The proposed canal was never built, but the result was a 170 foot wide commons area, which gradually evolved into a street with two roadways flanking a central reservation.