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Bawdy Trade in New Orleans, 1840s-1950s: Further Reading (Books, Articles, Etc.)

Guide presents a bibliography, recommended reading and research resources, and instructions for using three Google Earth maps (.kmz files) containing images, links, and annotations of locations related to prostitution in New Orleans, 1840s-1950s

Human Trafficking and Sex Work

Contemporary sex workers are not infrequently victims of human trafficking who are forced to work against their will. Visit the National Human Trafficking Hotline to learn more about efforts to fight human trafficking. Support for victims of human trafficking is also available locally.

Selected Further Reading

Books and Articles

Study of the sex trade is increasing in volume, and there is currently a significant body of scholarship in sociology, criminal justice, women's studies, and other disciplines. The works listed below are not representative of the latest academic work in this area but are noteworthy for their treatment of the history of sex work in New Orleans.

Arcenaux, Pamela. Guidebooks to Sin: The Blue Books of Storyville, New Orleans. New Orleans: The Historic New Orleans Collection, 2017.

Asbury, Herbert. The French Quarter: An Informal History of the New Orleans Underworld. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 1936.

Barker, Danny. Buddy Bolden and the Last Days of Storyville. ed. Alyn Shipton. London: Continuum, 2001

Bergen, Brook. Storyville: A Hidden Mirror. Wakefield, RI: Moyer Bell, 1994.

Foster, Craig L. "Tarnished Angels: Prostitution in Storyville, New Orleans." Louisiana History 31, no.4 (1990). 387-397.

Hirsch, Arnold R. and Joseph Longdon. Creole New Orleans: Race and Americanization. Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1992. 

Mackey, Thomas C. Red Lights Out: A Legal History of Prostitution, Disorderly Houses, and Vice Districts, 1870-1917. New York: Garland, 1987.

New Orleans As It Is, by a Resident: Its Manners and Customs, Morals, Fashionable Life, Profanation of the Sabbath, Prostitution, Licentiousness, Slave Markets, and Slavery. Ithaca, NY: DeWitt C. Grove, 1849. (Digitized version freely available at Yale University Beinecke Library's Digital Collections, pp. 34-58 most likely to be relevant for research pertaining to sex work.)

Longstreet, Stephen. Sportin' Houses: A History of New Orleans Sinners and the Birth of Jazz. L.A.: Sherbourne Press, 1965.

Owens, Emily Alyssa. “Promises: Sexual Labor in the Space Between Slavery and Freedom in Antebellum Louisiana,” Louisiana History 58, no. 2 (Spring 2017): 179-216.

Rosen, Ruth. The Lost Sisterhood: Prostitution in America, 1900-1918. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982.

Shapiro, Nathan and Nat Hentoff, eds. Hear Me Talkin' to Ya: The Story of Jazz as Told by the Men Who Made It. New York: Rinehart, 1955.

Stanonis, Anthony J. Creating the Big Easy: New Orleans and the Emergence of Modern Tourism, 1918-1945. Athens: U Georgia P, 2006.

Tallant, Robert and Lyle Saxon. 1945. Gumbo Ya-Ya [reprint]. 75th anniversary ed. New Orleans: River Road Press, 2020. 

Vaz, Kim Marie. The Baby Dolls: Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition. LSU P, 2013.

Vaz-Deville, Kim. Walking Raddy: The Baby Dolls of New Orleans. UP Mississippi, 2018.

In addition to these titles, researchers have found the biographies and autobiographies of early New Orleans jazz innovators to be valuable for the detailed firsthand accounts the provide on working regularly in brothels, dance halls, and dance halls located in and around the District. Noteworthy authors/subjects include Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Kid (Edward) Ory, and Jelly Roll Morton (Ferdinand LaMothe).

Dissertations and Theses

Coyle, Katy. "The Intersection of Law and Desire: Sex, Storyville, and Prostitution in Turn-of-the-Century New Orleans." Ph.D. dissertation, Tulane University, In progress (?). 

Levy, Russell. "Of Bards and Bawds: New Orleans Sporting Life Before and During the Storyville Era, 1897-1917." Ph.D. Dissertation, Tulane University, 1967.

Mir, Jasmine. "Marketplace of Desire: Contested Space, Tourism, and Constructions of Sexual Deviance in New Orleans, 1880-1920." Ph.D. Dissertation, New York University, 2005.