Home LifestyleEvents Storyville’s Music: a First-Person Account

Storyville’s Music: a First-Person Account


Images of musicians who played in Storyville, and the District itself, illustrate Manuel “Fess” Manetta’s remarks about the red-light district’s music scene.

In a 1958 oral history, Manuel “Fess” Manetta, a self-professed “master of all instruments,” revealed snippets of Storyville’s music scene.

Manetta recalls playing in bands, but says he mostly worked alone, receiving minimal wages from clubs while also earning tips, or “collections,” from customers. He noted that women working in the more prominent brothels would buy sheet music and ask him to play while they performed their favorite songs for patrons.

Jazz historian Bruce Raeburn will discuss the music of Storyville Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 6PM as part of The Collection’s exhibition “Storyville: Madams and Music.” Admission is free.

This is part three in a four-part series about Storyville, a legally sanctioned red-light district that operated in New Orleans from 1898 until 1917.

Eli Haddow, The Historic New Orleans Collection

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