1942 local bands in New Orleans

traveling acts, venues, local news, too
Local bands active in clubs that admitted Black patrons in New Orleans, 1942

Sidney Desvigne’s orchestra
Sidney Desvigne & his Southern Syncopators, and the WPA band.
Sid Desvigne & the Royal Playboys

Dukes of Rhythm, Royal Playboys

Don Raymond’s orchestra

Famous Northside Hawks

Don Redmond’s orchestra

Prof Victor & his Music Makers

Papa Celestin’s orchestra / Moonlight Serenaders

Traveling acts performing for predominately Black audiences in New Orleans, 1942

Dorothy Maynor

Clarence Muse

Clyde Treiner’s Bama State Boys

Camille Nickerson

Doc Clayton orchestra

Pha Terrell

Jimmie Lunceford’s orchestra

Camille Nickerson, noted arranger & singer of Creole folk songs

Wings over Jordan Choir

Fatha Hines

Snookum Russell

Billy Eckstein w/ Sister Tharpe

Edna Washington

Carolina Cotton Pickers

Rays of Rhythm w/ 16 Bronze Girls

Sidney Cates orchestra

Louis Armstrong

Helen Humes & Ernie Fields

Andy Kirk & 12 Clouds of Joy w/ Mary Lou Williams

Paul Robeson


Clubs & Venues open to Black patrons in New Orleans, 1942

Jerusalem Temple 1137 St. Charles Ave. 


Tick Tock


Xavier U gymnasium

Rhythm Club

Gypsy Tea Room, with accommodations for 1,500

Katherine Ballroom, 227 LaSalle St.

Dew Drop Inn

San Jacinto Club

Toni’s Tavern, 910 Claiborne

Dooky Chase Bar & Grill

Other music
Sometimes lost in the tapestry of New Orleans’ rich musical tradition is the importance its public and private schools and colleges, which offered additional venues for performances as well as excellent instruction in preforming a variety of arts musics.

For example, 2 orchestras performed at Xavier for its President’s birthday celebration.

McDonough 35’s music department presented an operetta..

The Landry School’s 2nd annual opera presentation: The Maiden and the Golden Dragon.

News from the Louisiana Weekly, 1942

January 10, 1942
1:  Negro Schools Deplorable, Probe Reveals; Class load from 50 – 117 pupils, buildings in use date from 1882, hundreds of broken window glasses covered w/ cardboard or not at all; ; dirty toilets, odorous & wet, defying all health regulations. 10 Negro schools in Orleans Parish, with 125, 596 Negro students, including the Mims Municipal Boys Home (108 pupils. 25). 
–: Inadequate facilities Seen as Hampering National and Civilian Defense Efforts

January 17, 1942
1: 28 soldiers wounded in riot w/ white MPs at Alexandria.

March 21, 1942
1: Third Detroit Housing Riot quelled w/ tear gas.
–:NAACP to probe condition of NO negro schools
8: St Bernard Project nearly done.

May 2, 1942
6: 16,000 Crowd Pelican Stadium to See Satchell Paige,

May 9, 1942
1:Ernest J. Wright, direcor of local NAACP, arrested as he spoke from a sound truck, last week.
–:Higgins Boats announces plan to hire Negroes.
2 : “Arrest Barmaid who sold drink to white sailor.” At Poodle Dog Tavern, Dryades & Julia May, owner says they’re trying to shut him down because he’s out of his area.

June 6, 1942
6: Lincoln Beach w/ bathhouse for 1,000 to open for colored on June 7

July 4, 1942
1: 1 slain in Rhythm Club brawl: no one knows who stabbed popular barber, during Louis Jordan show.

July 11, 1942
4: Musicians Local put Rhythm Club on blacklist, Tuddy Mancuso proprietor
–: Pinchback Tureaud, WPA Bandleader, dies. Had been living for several years at Convalescent Home, 237 S, Villere St.. The son of Adolphe Turead, former member of Reconsgtruction Legislature, he was named in honor of Gov. Pinchback, a “great friend of the family.” Originally from Convent, LA but in NO for over 40 yrs, 
8:  Jax Zulo Hippotamuses, newly organized, played their first game last Sunday at Hi-Way Park and beat the Ryan Stevedores, 6-4. The Zulos play wearing kinky wigs and in blackface.

August 8, 1942
1: Civilian cop’s brutality at local induction center creates near riot, scores arrested. Wendell Eugene, Clyde Kerr, and the other recruits for the Lakefront Naval Air Station band successfully managed their enlistment and left for Chicago on August 10 for training at the Great Lakes Naval Station.

August 15, 1942
6: Louis Armstrong gets key to city and a parade in his honor, performs at Victory Arena and the Gypsy Tea Room, now owned & operated by Louis Messina.

October 31, 1942
3:  “Observe Navy Day Here in Peculiar Way, Refuse Negroes view of exhibit, on Canal St at Elks Place.” Negroes denied viewing a plane open to all others; a press rep (most likely Fred Kane, the author of this article), persisted and had order reversed but many already turned away. No colored, he inferred, “because we don’t need you folk now.” Even more peculiar, it seems: neither of New Orleans’ two Black Navy bands were invited to participate. 

November 7, 1942
1: Fear another lynching in Miss.
–: Sunday Brawl indicates need of Negro MP’s
   Upwards of 150 Negro soldiers arrested about 9 o’clock Sunday after friends of one uniformed man objected to his arrest by 2 civilian policemen on Rampart Street. 2nd Rampart Street near-riot in a month underscores need for Black MPs.
–: Ernest J. Wright announces tomorrow’s parade will form at the Autocrat Club on St Bernard at 1 pm.

December 5, 1942
8: Colored olympic speed derby Friday at Victory Arena, free beer for all!

December 12, 1942
1: WPA’s closing down will affect 2,250 Negroes on local rolls; had been in gradual liquidation since June. Increased private employment mitigates need.
6: A November 28 ad announced the Speed Derby, which would be the “first Negro endurance competition” locally, at Victory Arena, with “some of the greatest athletic and entertaining stars ever assembled,” to compete vs New Orleanians, with  cash prizes up to $500. Participants required to walk 45 minutes out of hour, 24 hrs a day, meals fed free 7 times a day, with  “red hot bands, jam sessions, jitterbug and “sand” contests” plus novelties.
–: “Here It Is “reviews the Olympic Speed Derby at Victory Arena:

       I dug the so-called speed derby Friday night and had the opportunity to get hep to what’s really going on out there. The MC blasted out over the mike that he had a contract signed by Helen Seals to enter the Ice Coffin at her own risk. This contract turned out to be one for Sid Desvigne’s orch, which played there that night. So you can see that the ofays think all jigs are dum. This Seals girl put in twenty two minutes in the Ice Coffin then after interviewing her in the dressing room, she told me she could have easily put in ten more. 

–3 December 2023