New Orleans

  • Season 3, Ep 3
  • 09/15/2015

Pirates help Andrew Jackson defend New Orleans, Sam Zemurray introduces America to bananas, and Louis Armstrong becomes the best trumpet player in Louisiana.

Oh, [bleep].

Oh, [bleep].

Oh, [bleep].

Oh, no.



Today we're gonna talkabout the pirate Jean Lafitte.


(Allan)Our story startsin the early 1800s.

The economy is very bad.

So the smugglers in New Orleanswere these pirates,

and the leader of the pirates,Jean Lafitte,

was operating a major smuggl--

Ooh, smuggling ring?

So Jean Lafitte was operatinga "majoler"--

Oh, no, no, no.

Okay, okay.

He was very smooth and suave.

He was justa really badass pirate.

Governor Claiborne of Louisianais not happy about it.

I'm putting a $500 bountyon Jean Lafitte's head.

Not his head.

I don't want youto bring me his head.

I want youto bring him in alive.

But seriously...

I'll give you $500if you capture him

and bring him in, okay?

So, at this point,the War of 1812 is...

happening now.

There are British ships just offthe coast of New Orleans.

King George IIIsends a letter, saying,

"Dear Jean Lafitte,I'm gonna attack New Orleans.

"I'd love for youto be a part of this.

In exchange, we will make youa captain of the British Navy."

Lafitte says,

I need a little timeto think about this.

When he knows--

I'm not going to fightagainst America,

because he loves America.

And then Claiborne's menshow up

and arrest Jean Lafitte.

We caught you red-handed,Jean Lafitte.

You're arrested.

We're going to arrest you.

Jean Lafitte surrenders.

He's like, Okay, you got me.

He gets put in jail.

So Jean Lafitte writesa letter to Andrew Jackson.

He's fighting the [bleep]out of the British already.

"Dear Andrew Jackson,

"here's all the battle plansthat King of England gave me.

"Maybe you could free me

"and pardon me of all my crimes.

Nobody can defend New Orleansbetter than we can."

Major General Andrew Jacksonis like,

Who is this piratewriting a letter to me?

Pirates are to be hung.

I'm not going to fightalongside a pirate.

I'm here fighting the South--

I'm fighting--Oh, [bleep].

I'm sorry, I'm sorry.

I'm gonna do this right.

I'm not about to help you.

I'm gonna head to New Orleansand protect it myself.

Andrew Jackson arrivesin New Orleans.

He's like, I've been shot.

I have dysentery,

which is the worst categoryof diarrhea

that you can imagine.

No big deal.

I'll [bleep] on my [bleep] horseall day long.

His horse is like, Huh?

Okay, fine, you [bleep] on me.

I'm an American horse.


You know what I mean?

that was a New Orleanstradition,

so we're gonna dothe Sazerac.

This is absinthe.

You might hallucinatea little bit tonight.


Mm, shake it up.

Shake it, shake it.

[gravely]♪ What a wonderful drink


Hello, I'm Daryl Johnson.

And today we're gonna talkabout Louis Armstrong,

and the peoplethat made Louis

the Louis Armstrongwe know today.

Louis Armstrong grew up

in the roughest and poorestpart of New Orleans.

He'd be like,

♪ I'm gonna singfor some money ♪

When people would throwpennies at him,

he would pick up the penniesand throw them in his mouth

so that the big kidswouldn't take them from him.

And that's how he gothis first nickname, Satchmo.

You take all the coinsand put them in your mouth

like a satchel--satch-mouth.

His mom works as anoff-and-on-again prostitute

in the brothels whereall the jazz music was playing,

so Louis would be like...

Hey, girl,can I listen real quick

to the band that's playingon the other side of this wall?

And so he would listento the Kid Ori Band

and "King" Joe Oliver...

[upbeat jazz music]

Baddest cornetist in town.

Couldn't nobody touchKing Oliver.

And little Louis was listeningthrough those walls

and was like,That's what I want to do.

I want to play that music.



It's burning the insideof my body!

Okay, so, one day...

a Jewish coal merchant,Bernhardt Karnofsky,

saw little Louisat the brothels and said,

Hey, little kid,I can give you a job

if you work for me deliveringcoal to the prostitutes.

Come into our family.

We're gonna feed you

and treat youlike one of our own.

Mrs. Karnofsky would singlittle Jewish lullabies

to Louis as a young boy,and it'd be like,

♪ Ruga-ta

No, wait.

No, that's the prayer.

The lullabywould probably be like,

♪ We're Jewish,and we love it ♪

That's, like, nice, right?

(Derek)That's perfect.

(Daryl)So, at 7 years old,he's working for the Karnofskys.

On the truck,he used to play a horn, like...

♪ Ba-ba-ba-ba

We're comin'.

And they were drivingpast this pawnshop,

and in the windowof this pawnshop

was this old, beat-up cornet,

and he was like, I want that.

Little Louisasked Karnofsky...

Do you think you canadvance me the $5

to buy that cornet?

He said, Of course I canloan you the $5.

And it was a piece of junk,but it was his piece of junk.

He used to polish it.He was like...

♪ Har-mup, nar-nah-nar-nar-bup

'Cause he wasn'treally that good yet.

But he would say,

I'm gonna be the best cornetistin all Louisiana.

And wore a Star of Davidfor the rest of his life

to commemorate how much

the Karnofsky familymeant to him.

That was way before

all these celebrities todaymade it popular

to just go grab a littleblack kid off the street.


So he's out one night,

and he decidesto shoot a gun into the air

to celebrate New Year's.

Police was like...

Mm-mm. You can't bea little black kid

in New Orleans shootinga gun in the air.

We gonna arrest you.

He got taken to the New OrleansHome for Colored Waifs.

(Derek)It sounds racist.

(Daryl)It's--I'm sureit was pretty racist.

This is--we're, like, talking 1913.

And that's when he meetsPete Davis,

the musical "instructure"--

musical instructor.

Pete Davis taught himhow to read music

and how to play technically.

And he's like,You're gonna be the "dest"--

the best damn horn playerin New Orleans.

And so, a couple years later,when he gets out,

he's playing inall these, like, seedy bars.

Everybody in New Orleansis like,

Hey, that's littleLouis Armstrong.

He used to makethe horn talk.

Is that what they said?

It's what it sounded like.

♪ Bwop, bwah-da-bwah-da-bwop,Bwah-bwah ♪

♪ Go get you a prostitute

♪ Get you some whiskey

♪ Bwah-da-dup-bup-bup-bup

♪ And have a good time, ha

And one day, his idol,"King" Joe Oliver,

heard him play,

and he was like,Man, this kid's good.

[items clattering]

Oh, [bleep].


Oh, there's another one.

I told you,Sazeracs do something special.


All right.And what am I doing now?

(Derek)Tell me the story.

Starting the storyfrom over the beginning.

No, no, for real, Daryl,tell me about Louis Armstrong.

Hey, let's be honest.We've been through a lot.


All right.

It was King Oliverwho taught him how to perform.

So they used to marchall around town,

in parades, marching bands,

and that's how Louisgot his soul.

Papa Joe would be like...

If you heard the crowdgetting into the music,

give them a little bit more,right?

So if you was like,

♪ Bah-bah-da-bah-duh-ba-bup

♪ Bada-bada-bada-bah

Just throw more notes.

♪ Bah-bada-bada-ba-bah-bah

[mumbled melody]

♪ Bop-bop-bow

[mumbled melody]

And little Louiswas like...


I'm drunk as [bleep].

I'll do whatever you want.

I'm so drunk.

What you want now?

- What was I talking about?[laughter]

We were talkingabout Louis Armstrong.

So, to be honest,

he was playingbetter than Papa Joe.

Louis became the number-onecornetist in New Orleans.

And everybody was like,

Man, this Louis Armstrongis good.

And that's when he blew up.

- Cheers.- Louis Armstrong.

- To Louis.- To Louis.

(Derek)Without that lovethat he was given, he might...

(Daryl)He might not be theLouis Armstrong we know today.

Always rememberwhere you got that--

that inspiration from.

- Thank you.- Thank you.


Louis Armstrongwas the greatest.

Ooh, okay,do it slow.

You want meto crack your back?

Yeah, okay,but do it slow.


You want to crack--You're drunk.

Hey, you guys.

Oh, boy.

I'm Gloria Calderon Kellett.

Or Glor--I should do it again.

No, just keep going.

I'm Gloria Calderón Kellett.

Never been more Latina.

And I'm gonna tell you

aboutSam "the Banana Man" Zemurray.

So it's 1891.

Sam Zemurray's 14 years old.

He's a Russian Jew, very poor.

Has no formal education.

And he steps off the boatwith his parents,

and he's like, Yeah, America.

Let's make this happen,American style.

And one day, there's, like,a traveling salesman

peddling exotic wares.

And he's like...

Excuse me, sir, what is thispenis-looking thing?

And the peddler says...

Oh, that is a banana.

And Sam's like...

What is it?

Oh, it is a fruit.

He's like, What?

And he tries this banana,and it's delicious.

And he's like, I want--

I want everyone in the world

to taste what'sin my mouth right now.

Oh, you dropped your--

Oh, my banana dropped!

So he goes to wherethe banana boats come in.

They sort, like,about to be ripe,

ripe, over-ripe.

All the ripe bananas are throwninto the ocean.

And he goes up to them,and he's like...

You guys,what are you doing?

These are deliciousripe bananas.

And they're like,Oh, man, this--

we'd love to notthrow them away,

'cause you're right,they are delicious.

However, by the timethey get to where they're going,

they're gonna be rotten.

It's super sad.

- Aw.- Yeah.

So he gets this idea.

Why don't I buythose ripes off of you?

And they're like,All right.

And then he rents a boxcar

on the Illinois Central train,

and then at every stop,he's like, What is up?

And all the grocers are like,

We're here, and we wantto buy your bananas, sir.

He's like, I have nothingbut awesome bananas to sell you,

right here from my--zoop--from my boxcar.

Some people don't knowwhat the hell they are.

Ooh, that looksa little bit weird.

And they try it,and they're like, Holy [bleep].

This is bananas.

He's like, Exactly.

You're welcome.

He's selling bananasleft and right.

Left and right, bananas.

And that first trip,he makes 40 bucks,

which is so much moneyat that time.

That's amazing,how bananas were so...

Forgot the wordI wanted to use.

- [laughs]- Anyway...

So he does this againand again and again.

And by the timehe's 21 years old,

Sam, who's now knownas Sam the Banana Man,

has made $100,000.

Is that enough for Sammy Z?

It is not.He wants more, Derek.

So it dawns on him--

Wait a minute.I could just do this all myself.

I'm gonna go to Honduras.

And in 1910, he's, like,along the Cuyamel River,

and he's like, I'm gonna startthe Cuyamel Fruit Company.

I'm gonna buy a ton of land,buy some ships,

and I'm gonna plant bananas

And I'm gonna, like,build a railroad line,

and I'm gonna get--like, talk to the authorities

and be like, Hey, authorities,

is it cool if you totallydon't tax me a lot?


And it's gonna be amazing.

So he is controllinghis own supply.

He's getting his tax breaks.

Everything is awesome.

He's, like, the richest guyin New Orleans.

He can do anything he wants.

He is Al Pacino, Scarface style,

but instead of, like, cocaine,bananas.