Guidebooks to Sin

Join THNOC on Friday, February 3, for the release of Guidebooks to Sin: The Blue Books of Storyville, New Orleans by Pamela D. Arceneaux. Between 1897 and 1917, a legal red-light district thrived at the edge of the French Quarter, helping establish the notorious reputation that adheres to New Orleans today. Though many scholars have written about Storyville, no thorough contemporary study of the blue books–directories of the neighborhood’s prostitutes, featuring advertisements for liquor, brothels, and other goods and services–has been available until now.
Arceneaux’s examination of these rare guides invites readers into a version of Storyville created by its own entrepreneurs. A foreword by the historian Emily Epstein Landau places the blue books in the context of their time, concurrent with the rise of American consumer culture and modern advertising. Illustrated with hundreds of facsimile pages from the blue books in THNOC’s holdings, Guidebooks to Sin illuminates the intersection of race, commerce, and sex in this essential chapter of New Orleans history.
The book, which retails for $50, will be available for purchase at The Shop at The Collection, local independent bookstores, and national online retailers beginning Friday, February 3. The book release event is free and open to the public. Registration is required. Email wrc@hnoc.org or call (504) 523-4662 to make reservations.
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Friday, February 3

5:30 – 6:30 p.m.: Lecture with
Pamela D. Arceneaux, THNOC senior librarian/rare books curator, at the
Queen Anne Ballroom, Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal Street
6:30 – 8 p.m.: Reception and book signing
The Historic New Orleans Collection
533 Royal Street
Admission is free, but reservations are required. Email wrc@hnoc.org or call (504) 523-4662 to make reservations.
The Historic New Orleans Collection presents
February 4, 2017
Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal Street
Registration is required to attend the symposium, and early registration is available through Friday, January 13, with rates ranging between $40 and $75. Rates will increase to $50 – $85 on Saturday, January 14, and registration will remain open as long as space is available. Register online or call (504) 523-4662 to register via telephone.
Though the citizens of New Orleans may not have known it at the time, the year 1917 was a pivotal moment in the city’s history. The first jazz recording, “Livery Stable Blues,” was released, and Storyville, the famed red-light district, closed. One hundred years later, the 2017 Williams Research Center Symposium, Storyville and Jazz, 1917: An End and a Beginning, examines the ways in which the neighborhood and the musical movement have shaped perceptions of New Orleans around the world. A schedule of talks is available online. Early registration is available through Friday, January 13.
The 22nd annual Williams Research Center Symposium is presented by The Historic New Orleans Collection with support from Hotel Monteleone and ClearBridge Advisors, Inc. Additional support is provided by St. Denis J. Villere & Co.; Becker Suffern McLanahan, Ltd.; AOS Interior Environments; Baptist Community Ministries; Bywater Woodworks, Inc.; Exterior Designs, Inc.; Milling Benson Woodward, LLP; Waggonner & Ball Architects; New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau; New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation; Premium Parking; and Solaris Garage.
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About DW

New Orleans resident, writer, activist. Public market consultant.

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