As a recovering homeowner, I remember working in the suburban garden . . . without much pleasure.  It’s all a blur of shovels and gloves, pine bark chips, perennials and annuals.

But now you and I have an opportunity to make a garden grow — without raising a blister or breaking a sweat.  Perhaps you will also grow enthusiastic about this project when I remind you that it is the garden of the Louis Armstrong House Museum I am referring to.

If you like a logical Mobius strip, let me propose this one.

Louis Armstrong continues to make us happy even though the medical examiner said he was dead on July 6, 1971.  We can do something to make him — wherever his spirit is — happier by moving our respective computer mice.  And we are alive . . .

The Louis Armstrong House Museum was named one of forty historic places by American Express and the National Historic Trust for Historic Preservation. There’s a competition  — which began on April 26, 2012.   New York City’s first-ever citywide grassroots preservation contest will run through May 21st, 2012.

Partners in Preservation asks the public to vote online for the preservation project they like best.

And — no surprise — the Louis Armstrong House Museum is the only preserved home of a jazz legend in the contest!

“We are honored and excited to be among 40 organizations to compete in this preservation grant contest,” noted Michael Cogswell, Executive Director of the LAHM. “If we win, and we hope we do, the funds will preserve Louis and Lucille’s garden.” Louis Armstrong celebrated his 71st birthday in his beloved garden, two days before his death.

The Louis Armstrong House Museum is a living memoir of Louis and Lucille Armstrong: the house where they entertained friends; the den where Louis practiced, ate sardines, had a good time for nearly thirty years. LAHM, a non-profit 501c(3) organization, is a National Historic Landmark and a New York City landmark. All of its furnishings are original and have been preserved, giving visitors the feeling that Louis and Lucille just stepped out for a minute. The Louis Armstrong House Museum holds collections of photographs, sound recordings, letters, manuscripts, instruments, and artifacts, making it the largest publicly held archival collection in the world devoted to a jazz musician.

Until May 21, 2012, anyone 13 years of age and older, anywhere in the world can vote online for the Louis Armstrong House Museum either from their web-enabled mobile device, online or on Facebook.

The best way to vote is at

Votes can be cast directly at

Everyone can vote once a day for Louis Armstrong House Museum for 26 days up through May 21. On May 22, the top three vote-getters and the grants for their preservation projects will be announced.  Money will also be awarded for the most imaginative campaign . . . which we hope this is!

American Express, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and an advisory committee, will review the votes of the remaining sites along with each site’s monetary and preservation needs to determine how the rest of the $3 million in grants will be awarded.

“We are thrilled to bring this important preservation program to New York and highlight this city’s many historic treasures while emphasizing the importance of grassroots preservation efforts,” said Stephanie Meeks, President, the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Preservation of our historic places helps strengthen communities, generate jobs and build sustainable cities and towns. We hope Partners in Preservation will foster a deeper interest in protecting New York’s important historic and cultural sites for many decades to come.”

What does this mean to JAZZ LIVES readers, people who (I assume) love Louis and his music? It means we all have a chance to honor and help Louis and Lucille and their house . . . with a click of a mouse.

Spread joy — as Louis did — even if you never picked up a rake, a bag of fertilizer, or a trumpet. I’ve done my daily click. Won’t you?

Here’s a swinging pastoral reward for your good works:

May your happiness increase.

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