Last updated: March 1, 2021
The Karnofsky Store was, beginning in 1913, the shop, with residence above, of the Jewish family that provided a second home to the young Louis Armstrong. He worked for the Karnofskies on their coal and junk wagons, tooting “a small tin horn,” and ate meals with the family, either in their earlier home on Girod Street or here, or maybe both. The Karnofskys loaned Armstrong money for his first cornet. It was near here, on New Year’s Eve, 1912, that Armstrong was arrested for firing a .38. Following his arrest he was sent to the Colored Waif’s Home, where he became part of a band and began to receive musical instruction and play his cornet more seriously.
Morris Karnofsky, the son of the family and Armstrong’s boyhood friend, opened the first jazz record store in town, Morris Music. Located at various addresses on South Rampart Street through the years, it was a meeting place for musicians. Armstrong visited his friend and his musician buddies at the store on his many return trips to the city.
The Karnofsky Store is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.