Stumbled upon the story of Storyville while watching a video of the history of New Orleans Jazz. It was a section of New Orleans where prostitution was made legal from 1897-1917. Storyville was created under city ordinance to regulate prostitution and drugs — the “if you can’t beat it, regulate it” philosophy.
A Blue Book that listed prostitutes alphabetically could be purchased for 25 cents. The 38-block area included housing that ranged from cheap ‘cribs’ to elegant mansions.
Mahogany Hall, the most lavish whorehouse, was run by Lulu White, who became an important businesswoman in town. It was originally called the Hall of Mirrors and was built of solid marble and steam heated. It had four floors, five parlors, and 15 bedrooms, with attached bathrooms — each had hot and cold water. The rooms were furnished with chandeliers and elegant furniture.
The Story of Jazz
Storyville was near a train station and became a popular ‘tourist’ destination. Jazz flourished in Storyville — and since the section of town had so many tourists, the music was brought northward.
The US Navy closed Storyville at the start of World War I, due to a reformist attitude sweeping the nation.
Those are the highlights — you can read the rest of the story of Storyville at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storyville,_New_Orleans
Here’s the video I was watching that clued me into this story: