Mapping Out the Birthplace of the Blues -- But Where's St. Louis?

This was posted on our main blog a few days ago, but it's worth repeating here (since I'm not sure how many folks read both).

A man named David Miller has posted a map featuring the birthplaces of Mississippi Blues artists (click on the picture for the entire extensive page).

He also has a map based on New Orleans:

(As an aside, the New Orleans Jazzfest line-up was just announced. Highlights include Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, the Neville Brothers, the Raconteurs, Robert Plant with Alison Krauss and Randy Newman.)

On his Web site, Miller says "maps on the drawing board" include: Jazz and R&B Landmarks of Greater New Orleans, African-American Music Before The Civil War, the T.O.B.A. Circuit, Beale Street, Chicago Blues Spots and Black Music Goes Uptown: Manhattan.

So where's St. Louis?

In the time I've lived here, I've had several discussions with people about the city's lack of a centralized Hall of Fame/tribute-type area dedicated to its rich blues history. (At least a physical presence: The online resources are staggeringly thorough; start with and then head to the blogroll on RFT contributor Dean C. Minderman's jazz site -- and that's just a start.)

With the well-respected label Broke & Hungry Records earning a name for itself in the industry, to the packed blues shows held at the revamped BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups and Broadway Oyster Bar to the touristy St. Louis Jazz & Blues tour one can take, the city's not lacking for an awareness of its legacy.

But as death and old age start to take the city's legendary players from us (see Malcom Gay's story "Going Down Slow," and his obituary of Bennie Smith), now seems as good a time as any to start thinking about some proper way to honor our past, present and future -- so future generations can also remember.

I emailed Miller this blog post and asked for a response; I'll update this with any comments.

-- Annie Zaleski

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