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The Eternal Debate: Louis vs. Louie

I get asked a lot of questions about Louis Armstrong but one in particular stands as the most oft-asked of them all:

"How do you pronounce his name? Louis or Louie?"

Oh boy. I can hear the guns coming out of their holsters as I type this.

I wish I knew why this question inspired such fierce debate but I've seen it all, usually in the grisly waters of social media. People who call him "Louis" are pretentious. People who call him "Louie" are racist. He never wanted to be called "Louis." He never wanted to be called "Louie." I've seen people call him "Louis," then look at me for affirmation that they said it the "right" way. I've seen people call him "Louie," then look at me while saying something like, "Everyone called him 'Louie,' right? This 'Louis" stuff didn't start until Wynton!"

I've kind of perfected my personal answer over the years but I'm not sure …

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