New Orleans (1947)

Seventy-five years ago today, the film New Orleans premiered. It is an American musical romance film featuring Billie Holiday as a singing maid and Louis Armstrong as a bandleader; supporting players Holiday and Armstrong perform together and portray a couple becoming romantically involved. During one song, Armstrong’s character introduces the members of his band, a virtual Who’s Who of classic jazz greats, including trombonist Kid Ory, drummer Zutty Singleton, clarinetist Barney Bigard, guitar player Bud Scott, bassist George “Red” Callender, pianist Charlie Beal, and pianist Meade Lux Lewis. Also performing in the film is cornetist Mutt Carey and bandleader Woody Herman. The music, however, takes a back seat to a rather conventional plot. The movie stars Arturo de Córdova and Dorothy Patrick, features Marjorie Lord, and was directed by Arthur Lubin.

Title: New Orleans
Directed by: Arthur Lubin
Produced by: Jules Levey and Herbert Biberman
Screenplay by: Elliot Paul and Dick Irving Hyland
Story by: Elliot Paul and Herbert J. Biberman
Staring: Arturo de Córdova as Nick Duquesne, Dorothy Patrick as Miralee Smith, Marjorie Lord as Grace Voiselle, Irene Rich as Mrs. Rutledge Smith, John Alexander as Col. McArdle, Richard Hageman as Henry Ferber, Jack Lambert as Biff Lewis, Bert Conway as Tommy Lake, Joan Blair as Constance Vigil, John Canady, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday as Endie, Woody Herman and His Orchestra, Zutty Singleton as Drums, Barney Bigard as Clarinet, Kid Ory as Trombone, Bud Scott as Guitar, Red Callender as Bass, Charlie Beal as Piano, Meade Lux Lewis as Piano, Mutt Carey as Trumpet, Shelley Winters as Miss Holmbright (Nick’s New York secretary; uncredited)
Music by: Nat W. Finston and Woody Herman
Cinematography: Lucien Andriot
Production Company: Majestic Productions
Distributed by: United Artists
Release date: April 18, 1947 (United States)
Running time: 90 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English

A casino owner and a high society singer fall in love during the birth of the blues in New Orleans.


  1. It was 1947. The war has barely ended, the economy was still in wartime shock, and people wanted to celebrate. And this movie was a True Celebration. New Orleans has always been the home of “let the Good Times Roll” and until Katrina could be counted on to have good fun cheaply. Post Katrina, however, Treme and other sections were hardest hit and people in that town were scattered to the winds. It’s slowly coming back, but I doubt that it will ever be as depicted in this film.


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