Waifs Home Brass Band

The Colored Waif’s Home Brass Band started in 1911/2 (first performed in public in 1913) until ?.
Louis Armstrong told that the band was named: Maple Leaf Band. 8,p101

Policeman in uptown New Orleans sometimes donated their old uniforms tp neighborhood bands. The Waif’s Home Band was part of this charitable trend. They proudly marched through town in their uniforms. 8,p103

From this musicians it’s known that they played in the Brass Band:

Cornet/trumpet Peter Davis (photo 1913), Isaac “Ikey” Smooth, Louis Armstrong (1913 – 1914 his 5th instrument)8,p101, “Cockeye Jerry”, Henry “Kid” Rena (photo 1913)
Bugel Louis Armstrong (4th instrument). 8,p101
Trombone George Washington
Clarinet Thomas “Cricket” Walker (photo 1913)
Bariton horn James Harris (photo 1913), Henry Foster
Alto horn Gus Vanzan (photo 1913), “Old Folks”, “Kid” Shots Madison, Louis Armstrong (3th instrument’ 8,p101 (1913 – 1914).
Snare drum Louis Armstrong (2th instrument) 8,p101, James Brown (photo 1913), “Red Happy” Bolton
Bass drum Isaac “Ikey” Smooth (photo 1913), “Black Benny” Williams
Tambourine Louis Armstrong’s first instrument in the band.8,p101

In about 1907 Captain John Jones established the Colored Waifs Home. According to Chinee Foster they started in 1911 or 1912

Joe Howard, a schooled cornettist, was helping Peter Davis



ca. 1912:

Louis Armstrong, see yellow arrow – (On Top, in the middle)

The first public engagement at the Odd Fellows Day celebrations


Louis Armstrong stands at the right of the drum.
The drum in the middle of the photo is imprinted with “Municipal Boys’ Home, Colored Dept. Brass Band”.



Before Milne was built in the 1930’s, part of it was called the Colored Waif’s Home for Boys, the institution where Armstrong was incarcerated at age 11 after firing a pistol to celebrate New Year’s Day 1913. It was there that he learned to play the cornet.

Armstrong is but one of a host of noted jazz musicians to train at the Colored Waif’s Home, and later at Milne, to which he was a friend throughout his life.i1