Despite popular opinion, Bunk Johnson was not born in 1979 but rather most likely 1885 (however researchers do not rule out 1888 or 1889). He claimed the earlier date as to make it look like he was one of the early creators of jazz.
Bunk Johnson grew up at 5406 Constance Street (near Octavia Street) in New Orleans, Louisiana. The home that stands there today *might* be the original house as photo comparisons look very close. However the garage addition to the left is not part of the original home.
One of the reasons that Bunk stepped away from music for nearly a decade was do to his failing dental health. So when he returned to music, Bunk got new teeth from Leonard Bechet, famous jazz musician Sidney Bechet´s brother, who was a dentist.
Bunk Johnson lived and died at 638 Franklin Street, New Iberia, Louisiana in 1949. Some years later that address was changed to 638 Malain Street. The original house has since been demolished.
At the time of his death, his widow Maude requested that Life magazine cover the funeral of her husband. The magazine agreed upon one condition – that Johnson be photographed in his casket with his trumpet and be buried with the valuable instrument. The widow Johnson agreed, only to pull the horn out of his cold, dead hands just before they closed the lid without anybody looking.
Final Resting Place:
St. Edward Cemetery
East Dale Street
New Iberia, Louisiana, 70560
Grave Location:Section NE, Row 14, Plot 28
Grave Location Description
Located at the corner of French Street and Dale Street near downtown New Iberia, as you enter from any of the three entrances walk to the center of the cemetery to the large cross at the intersection of the paths. As you are facing the cross, turn to your left and Bunk Johnson’s small marker can be found six space down and three rows into the section, between the large tombs.
Grave Location GPS30.00049221439178, -91.82939798508488
Read More About Bunk Johnson:
- Published Obituary
- Wikipedia Entry
- The Swedish Bunk Johnson Society
- The Swedish Bunk Johnson Society - Four Johnson Homes in New Iberia
- The elusive hunt for Bunk Johnson's birthdate
- Syncopated Times - Bunk Johnson
- Bunk Johnson homepage
- Stanford University - The San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation Collection
- New Iberia Library - Bunk Johnson Collection
- 64 Parishes - Bunk Johnson Biography
- A jazz celebration for Bunk Johnson's birthday