Storyville: Madames and Music

Formed by an 1897 ordinance introduced by Alderman Sidney Story, Storyville was a legally sanctioned prostitution district located just north of the French Quarter. The varied attractions of sex, music, and dance emanating from the District’s brothels, saloons, and beer halls lured visitors from around the country, giving rise to a nationally important tourism center. Pioneering musicians like Manuel “Fess” Manetta, Jelly Roll Morton, and Joe “King” Oliver experimented with new styles and techniques there, and in the same year the District closed—1917—the Original Dixieland Jazz Band released the first jazz record, “Livery Stable Blues.”

In 2017, THNOC commemorated the centennial of the closing of the District with a symposium, public programming, publication and an exhibition, revived here in a virtual format, that brings to life the sights and sounds of New Orleans’s former red-light district. Using a diverse display of photographs, maps, postcards, contemporary objects, and the infamous blue books that served as directories to the District’s prostitutes, the exhibition encourages a better understanding of the music, people, and businesses that shaped the complicated legacies of Storyville.

Please be advised, this exhibition includes adult themes and content.

Enter the exhibition via the link below. Use the left sidebar to navigate through the exhibition chapters.

Begin Viewing Exhibition  »