Guidebooks to Sin: The Blue Books of Storyville, New Orleans

Guidebooks to Sin: The Blue Books of Storyville, New Orleans by Pamela D. Arceneaux, with a foreword by Emily Epstein Landau | published by The Historic New Orleans Collection, 2017 | $50 | hardcover | 160 pp.
320 color images

May 3, 2017

10 a.m.

Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library
4747 West Napoleon Avenue

Admission is free.

Pamela D. Arceneaux, author of The Historic New Orleans Collection’s latest publication Guidebooks to Sin: The Blue Books of Storyville, New Orleans, will speak at the Friends of the Jefferson Parish Library General Meeting at the East Bank Regional Library on Wednesday, May 3.

Guidebooks to Sin is the first contemporary study of blue books, the notorious guides to Storyville, the legal red-light district that thrived on the edge of the French Quarter from 1897 to 1917. The blue books arose from an integral and complicated point in New Orleans history, when class consciousness and tourism intersected with race and prostitution through modern advertising. Because they were originally created as disposable resources, few copies exist today—100 years after Storyville’s closure—and THNOC houses one of the largest collections of these curious pieces of Americana.

Guidebooks to Sin, the culmination of Arceneaux’s decades of research on the topic, is illustrated with hundreds of facsimile pages from the guides in THNOC’s holdings. With a foreword by Emily Epstein Landau placing the books in their historical context, the new volume is the ultimate guide to these artifacts, which have long been misconstrued pieces of Storyville’s history.

A hardcover, archival-quality art book, Guidebooks to Sin features more than 300 images. The program will take place at the Jefferson East Bank Regional Library at 4747 West Napoleon Ave. in Metairie, and is free and open to the public. The book, which retails for $50, will be available for purchase, and a signing will follow Arceneaux’s presentation. For more information, visit (504) 455-2665 or e-mail