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Louis Gallaud

Louis Gallaud, a pianist from the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans, is known for the memorable recordings he made with Punch Miller.

Louis Gallaud

Courtesy of Tulane University, William Ransom Hogan Archive of New Orleans Jazz

Emanuel Sayles and Louis Gallaud. Crawford, Ralston (Photographer)

A pianist from the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans, Louis Gallaud is perhaps best known for a series of memorable recordings he made with the highly regarded New Orleans jazz trumpeter Punch Miller. Although a relatively obscure figure in jazz history, Gallaud was held in high esteem as a performer by contemporaries and friends, including Miller and Israel Gorman, Charlie Love, Emile Barnes, and Andrew Anderson.

Louis Gallaud was born into a Creole family on February 27, 1897, in what was referred to as the “Back O’Town” section of New Orleans, an area around the former New Basin Canal, behind the natural levees along which the city first developed. Likely, Gallaud was largely self-taught, though he supplemented this instruction with informal training from other musicians. According to Larry Borenstein and Bill Russell’s book Preservation Hall Portraits (1968), Gallaud grew up listening to Jelly Roll Morton and Fess Manetta and had a style that showed traces of their influence. Gallaud was recorded by the Icon record label in 1962.

One of Gallaud’s first high-profile gigs was in Storyville, prior to its closing in 1917, with the great A. J. Piron at Pete Lala’s club. Performance dates at other Storyville venues, such as Tom Anderson’s cabaret, soon followed. Shortly thereafter, Gallaud played with Punch Miller and eventually began leading his own band. During the 1920s this ensemble had a long-standing gig at the Milneburg recreation area on Lake Pontchartrain.

Over the years, Gallaud would perform often with Kid Howard and Albert Burbank. During the 1940s Gallaud played at Luthjen’s bar with Big Eye Louis Nelson Delille. He also performed occasional gigs with “Wooden” Joe Nicholas, Kid Rena, Chris Kelly, and Papa Celestin.

A 1960 photograph from the Ralston Crawford photography collection at the New Orleans Hogan Jazz Archive shows banjo player Manuel Sayles, trumpeter Charlie Love, and clarinetist Emile Barnes playing at Louis Gallaud’s home at 1630 N. Villere Street in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans.

Gallaud died on November 24, 1985.