Armand grew up in a working-class neighborhood in The Bronx, in New York City. He spent his childhood trying to figure out how to avoid the tough Irish and Italian neighborhoods on the way to visit the Natural History Museum. A remarkably bright child with the potential for an honorable career as a physician, Armand was sent to the prestigious Bronx High School of Science. By most measures, he was an unremarkable student, barely passing physics and chemistry. But, he tells me his most challenging subject was completing a lay-up during physical education class.

The civil rights movement of the early 1960s caught his attention, so he headed to Tulane University to be in the heart of the south. Armand spent more time in the bars of the French Quarter than he did studying. But zoology piqued his interest and, despite barely passing many of his pre-requisites, he moved...

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