Overflowing with groggeries and brothels in the mid- to late nineteenth century, Gallatin Street in the lower French Quarter notoriously found itself center stage for all forms of rioting and debauchery. Wiley Sylvester Churchill’s sarcastically titled ink-on-board depiction of these everyday mass outbreaks identifies the confusion and violence experienced by both patrons and producers. Churchill expressly pairs the wild fervor of the rioters with his own ink strokes and shading, having each pen stroke give ferocious, distinct physicality to the rioters and simultaneously shaping the group as one violent outbreak. While almost none of the subjects’ facial features can be understood, this only emphasizes the brutish nature of certain characters and the unassuming demeanor of the defeated ones. In the center of the image are two assumed prostitutes tugging at each other’s hair and clothes, while just to the right is another woman standing squarely over what appears to be her defeated, male combatant. Just to the left, a man appears to be restraining an oncoming blow from a weapon. Throughout the image’s backdrop, raised and clenched fists shoot up, ready to strike. These images pair humorously with characters such as the man to the far right, sitting with a hand resting upon his cheek, befuddled by the riot behind him. Churchill’s image powerfully displays the wide spectrum of emotions expressed by rioters, both instigators and victims alike, towards prostitution in Gallatin Street.

Citation 1: 
ca. 1952
Citation 2: 
by Wiley Sylvester Churchill
Accession #: 
Peter Jahnig, student, Tulane University