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Document of the Month Page

Begun in April of 2012, Document of the Month highlights interesting documents, photographs, and other images from the holdings of the Louisiana State Archives. This page features documents for the current year. To see documents for prior years, click on the links below.

Mose "Toots" Johnson Death Certificate, 1928

(3/1/18) Mose "Toots" Johnson was a well-known Baton Rouge band leader of the early 1900s. While in his 20s, he founded a two-piece orchestra consisting of himself on the banjo and Little William on the harmonica. They played for dances of the lower river country and became much in demand. Eventually, they added a third member on the cornet. References to Toots Johnson's orchestra are found in the Baton Rouge newspaper throughout the 1920s. He fell ill a year before his death, but his orchestra played on. According to his death certificate, featured as this month's document, Mose Johnson died on Liberty Street in Baton Rouge on the 26th of March 1928. He was 54 years old, a bandmaster, and the son of James Johnson of Baton Rouge and Martha Sanford of Clinton. He was buried in Sweet Olive Cemetery. (Louisiana State Archives, Statewide Deaths, 1928, vol. 8, #3355). Upon his death, the Baton Rouge Chief of Police eulogized Toots as a generous contributor to charity, always willing to perform at charitable events. A related document regarding his funeral charges appears as the November 2017 Document of Month.

death certificate

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Old New Orleans

(2/1/18) In recognition of New Orleans' Tricentennial, this month's document is a photograph featuring the Café Du Monde, an historic coffee house on Decatur Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The corner of Jackson Square can be seen to the left. The photo is undated, but appears to be from around the 1930s or 1940s. The photo was taken by John B. Gasquet and can be found in the J. Dawson and Mark Cordes Gasquet Collection: 1920-1970 (Image 21C 1, Accession N1993-28), at the Louisiana State Archives. It is reproduced here with the permission of the Louisiana State Archives.

Jackson Square

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Jack Teagarden Death Certificate, 1964

(1/1/18) Jack Weldon Teagarden was a jazz trombonist and singer. Born in Texas in 1905, he came from a musical family and learned to play many musical instruments at a young age. As a professional musician, he played with Louis Armstrong and many notable band leaders. He also formed his own orchestras and had a successful recording career. Teagarden fell ill during a Christmas Eve performance in New Orleans and died there on January 15, 1964. His remains were flown to Los Angeles for burial in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills. This month's document is his death certificate from the Louisiana State Archives (Orleans Deaths, 1964, vol. 0, #406).

death certificate

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