THNOC’s ‘Guidebooks To Sin’ Explores Popular Blue Book Guide That Commercialized Prostitution As Bourgeois Leisure
NEW ORLEANS – “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 1898 to 1917.
Curious pieces of Americana, Storyville’s blue books functioned as consumer guides that promoted commercialized prostitution as bourgeois leisure, promising lavish goods and services, without mentioning sex. Because they were originally created as disposable resources, few editions exist today—100 years after Storyville’s closure—and The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) houses one of the largest collections of the artifacts.
Pamela D. Arceneaux, author of “Guidebooks to Sin: The Blue Books of Storyville, New Orleans” and THNOC senior librarian and rare books curator, will host a talk and book signing Thursday, Sept. 28, at the Rosa F. Keller Library & Community Center, 4300 S. Broad St., in Broadmoor, from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
In “Guidebooks to Sin,” an hardcover, archival-quality art book, Arceneaux’s research is illustrated with hundreds of facsimile pages from the guides in THNOC’s holdings and features more than 300 images. Together with a foreword by Emily Epstein Landau, which places 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.
Admission is free for “Storyville Revisited: Part One,” and the book that retails for $50 will be available for purchase at the event.
Light refreshments will be served.