New book details old New Orleans prostitute directories

Pocket directories advertising the ladies who roamed the streets of New Orleans in the 20th century have been revealed, depicting a lost era in the legendary city of good times.

Prostitution was legal in the early 1900s, and New Orleans – like many other cities – created a sanctioned red light district known as Storyville.

Author Pamela D Arceneaux has raised the curtain in her new book, “Guides to Sin: The Blue Books of Storyville, New Orleans”, in which advertisements for women were in print long before the Internet, where people can now search for sex.

The Blue Books were sold over a century ago for 25 cents – the $ 50 tabletop book will be released on Saturday by The Historic New Orleans Collection.

Pocket directories advertising the ladies who roamed the streets of New Orleans in the 20th century have been revealed, depicting a lost era in the legendary city of good times, like this image from 1906

This image provided by The Historic New Orleans Collection shows an undated photo of Rita Walker from Blue Book (left), one of the pocket-sized directories of New Orleans prostitutes published over a century ago

“Josie came to this town … to have a good time and she’s going to enjoy it as long as she is,” one lady said in a 1903 yearbook.

‘The Blue Book’ was one of the most comprehensive of at least six guidebooks published in New Orleans. The first known, probably published before the carnival season of 1900, used an asterisk to denote “a first-class house, where the best women are sold and nothing but wine”.

Ads in the larger booklets show they were aimed at white men, at least of the middle class, who had come to New Orleans for the carnival season, said Arceneaux, curator of rare books for the French Quarter Museum from the city.

A core Blue Book ad touted two risky “French balls” on the Saturday before Mardi Gras and Mardi Gras itself.

'The Blue Book' was one of the most comprehensive of at least six guidebooks published in New Orleans

'The Blue Book' was one of the most comprehensive of at least six guidebooks published in New Orleans

‘The Blue Book’ was one of the most comprehensive of at least six guidebooks published in New Orleans

A core Blue Book ad touted two risky “French balls” on the Saturday before Shrove Tuesday and Shrove Tuesday itself

A core Blue Book ad touted two risky “French balls” on the Saturday before Shrove Tuesday and Shrove Tuesday itself

The first known, probably published before the carnival season of 1900, used an asterisk to denote

The first known, probably published before the carnival season of 1900, used an asterisk to denote “a first-class house, where the best women are sold and nothing but wine”.

“Fun is the watchword” and “good times reign supreme” are repeated in the advertisements of many brothels. The same goes for “a visit will learn more than the pen can describe”.

Alcohol, champagne and beer, cigars, restaurants and bars, and the occasional advertisement for a pawnshop, taxi service, laundry, or so-called venereal disease cure have also appeared. A lawyer has been advertised in almost every Blue Book.

Restorer and state legislator Tom Anderson, known as the “Mayor of Storyville,” apparently published jacket pocket-sized eight-page guides with 30 or 40 listings and announcements just for his three. own restaurants, probably in 1903 and 1906.

  Alcohol, champagne and beer, cigars, restaurants and saloons, and the occasional advertisement for a pawnshop, taxi service, laundry, or so-called venereal disease cure have also appeared.

Alcohol, champagne and beer, cigars, restaurants and saloons, and the occasional advertisement for a pawnshop, taxi service, laundry, or so-called venereal disease cure have also appeared.

The ads in the larger booklets show that they were aimed at white men, at least of the middle class, who had come to New Orleans for the carnival season.

The ads in the larger booklets show that they were aimed at white men, at least of the middle class, who had come to New Orleans for the carnival season.

“Thousands of these individual issues may have been printed. But so few of them seem to have survived, ”Arceneaux said.

Advertisements for brothels, saloons, liquor and hangover cures “reveal how the ladies sought to represent their homes and offer a glimpse of what a night in Storyville might have looked like,” t she continued. Many advertise the music halls, restaurants, bars and saloons that have also sprung up in the area.

At the time, most people called it “the neighborhood,” Arceneaux said. The area is also known as Storyville because Alderman Sidney Story drafted the 1897 ordinance limiting prostitution to 16 blocks just outside the French Quarter.

Many advertise the music halls, restaurants, bars and saloons that have also sprung up in the area, especially on Basin St.

Many advertise the music halls, restaurants, bars and saloons that have also sprung up in the area, especially on Basin St.

The $ 50 Table Book will be released Saturday by The Historic New Orleans Collection

At the time, most people called it “the neighborhood,” Arceneaux said.  The area is also known as Storyville because Alderman Sidney Story drafted the 1897 ordinance limiting prostitution to 16 blocks just outside the French Quarter.

At the time, most people called it “the neighborhood,” Arceneaux said. The area is also known as Storyville because Alderman Sidney Story drafted the 1897 ordinance limiting prostitution to 16 blocks just outside the French Quarter.

New Orleans was not the first American city to restrict prostitutes to a single area. Virginia City, Nevada; Omaha, Nebraska; Waco and San Antonio, Texas have all done it earlier, Arceneaux said.

Bordello guides date back to at least a 1565 list of 210 prostitutes in Venice, Italy.

New Orleans, Philadelphia, New York, Milwaukee, Chicago, Louisville, and Los Angeles are just a few of the cities in America where 19th-century guides were published, Arceneaux said.

Storyville was closed in 1917, after America entered World War I and found out how many recruits had syphilis or gonorrhea - and now houses cemeteries and apartment complexes under construction

Storyville was closed in 1917, after America entered World War I and found out how many recruits had syphilis or gonorrhea – and now houses cemeteries and apartment complexes under construction

A century after it closed following World War I, construction is ubiquitous in the area, although it seems to have retained some of the same architectural charm.

A century after it closed following World War I, construction is ubiquitous in the area, although it seems to have retained some of the same architectural charm.

Storyville was closed in 1917, after America entered World War I and found out how many recruits had syphilis or gonorrhea.

“Across the country, similar restrictions have been placed on any area of ​​vice or prostitution within five miles of any military installation,” Arceneaux said.

A launch party for the 2000-copy edition was scheduled for Friday. An exhibition of the booklets, also digitized on the museum’s website, will open in April.

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