New Orleans wasn’t the first U.S. city with a legalized red-light district, but it did have one of the most famous.
Located north of the French Quarter, “Storyville” was created in an attempt to restrict prostitution to a designated vice district.
For nearly 20 years (1898–1917), the entertainment mecca lured visitors with dining, dancing, live music and sex. Often remembered for its lavish bordellos in mansions clustered along or near Basin Street, these elegant brothels were far outnumbered by “cribs” — crude structures where women worked in sordid conditions.
To learn more, visit THNOC’s Storyville: Madams and Music.
This is the first in a four-part series about Storyville, a legally sanctioned red-light district that operated in New Orleans from 1898 until 1917.
— Teresa Devlin, The Historic New Orleans Collection