Storyville, Reagonomics, and THE OLDEST PROFESSION

Storyville, New Orleans Home to Mama Mae and her Lovely Ladies


Storyville was the red-light district of New Orleans, Louisiana from 1897 to 1917. It was established by municipal ordinance under the New Orleans City Council, to regulate prostitution and drugs. Alderman Sidney Story, a City Councilman, wrote guidelines and legislation to control prostitution within the city. The ordinance did not legalize prostitution, but rather designated a sixteen block area as the part of the city in which it was not illegal. The area was originally referred to as “The District”, but its nickname, “Storyville”, soon caught on. It was bound by the streets of North Robertson, Iberville, Basin, and St. Louis and was found between the French Quarter and Interstate 10. It was located by a train station, making it a popular destination for travelers throughout the city, and became a centralized attraction in the heart of New Orleans. Only a few of its remnants are now visible. The neighborhood lies in Faubourg Treme and the land is now used for housing projects.

cowgirls-saloon-girlsThough developed under the proposed title The District, the nickname Storyville was in reference to City Councilman Sidney Story, who wrote the legislation and guidelines to be followed within the proposed neighborhood limits. The 16 block area was bounded by Iberville, Basin, St. Louis, and N. Robertson streets. His vision came from port cities that legalized prostitution and was officially established on July 6, 1897. Most of this former district is now occupied by the Iberville Housing Projects, two blocks inland from the French Quarter.

originalThe District was set up to limit prostitution to one area of town where authorities could monitor and regulate the practice. In the late 1890s, the New Orleans city government studied the legalized red light districts of northern German and Dutch ports and set up Storyville based on such models. Between 1895 and 1915, “blue books” were published in Storyville. These books were guides to prostitution for visitors to the district’s services; they included house descriptions, prices, particular services, and the “stock” each house offered. The Storyville blue-books were inscribed with the motto: “Order of the Garter: Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense (Shame to Him Who Evil Thinks).” It took some time for Storyville to gain recognition, but by 1900, Storyville was on its way to becoming New Orleans largest revenue center.

p886366774-3Establishments in Storyville ranged from cheap “cribs” to more expensive houses, up to a row of elegant mansions along Basin Street for well-heeled customers. New Orleans’ cribs were 50-cent joints, whereas the more expensive establishments could cost up to $10. Black and white brothels coexisted in Storyville; but black men were barred from legally purchasing services in either black or white brothels. Following the establishment of these brothels, restaurants and saloons began to open in Storyville, bringing in additional tourists.

In our story all of the ladies have come from this famed center of commerce and transferred to New York City after its closure in 1917. Making all of these ladies in their late 70’s and early 80’s. Mae had to of been around 86 or older in order to have been a Madame in 1917.

While Jazz did not originate in Storyville, it did flourish there as in the rest of the city. Many out-of-town visitors first heard this style of music there before the music spread north. Some outsiders continue to associate Storyville with the origins of jazz. It was tradition in the better Storyville establishments to hire a piano player and sometimes small bands.

Some of the notable figures of Storyville you may have heard of others are New Orleans own personal dirty little secret. Those that you may have heard of are Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, and Pops Foster. There are rumors that Louis Armstrong first performed in the infamous brothels of Storyville.

The owners of the brothels, saloons, and cribs would hire musicians to entertain the clients. These audiences tended to not be very critical, giving performers the freedom to experiment with their musical styles. Many different forms and genres of music arose from this experimentation, combining different influences such as African, French, and contemporary. With the closing of Storyville in 1917, the New Orleans musicians who had relied on the district for employment moved elsewhere. Many of these musicians moved to the next major urban center of jazz, Chicago. Musicians, such as Louis Armstrong, flourished here.

The Ronald Reagan Administration and “Reagonomics”

downloadThe United States presidency of Ronald Reagan, also known as the Reagan administration, was a Republican administration headed by Ronald Reagan from January 20, 1981, to January 20, 1989.

Reagan’s presidency was termed the “Reagan Revolution,” in recognition of the political realignment in the U.S. in favor of conservative domestic and foreign policies. The Reagan administration took a directly anti-communist stance towards the Soviet Union, actively seeking a collapse of the USSR as well as an end to the Cold War.

Domestically, the administration claimed to favor reducing government programs. It introduced several tax cuts for Americans, even though it later raised taxes somewhat. The economic policies enacted in 1981, known as “Reaganomics”, were an example of supply-side economics. Economic growth was strong for most of the 1980s; however, there was a recession in the beginning of his term and the national debt increased significantly.

Reaganomics (/reɪɡəˈnɒmɪks/; a portmanteau of Reagan and economics attributed to Paul Harvey) refers to the economic policies promoted by U.S. President Ronald Reagan during the 1980s. These policies are commonly associated with supply-side economics, referred to as trickle-down economics by political opponents and free market economics by political advocates.

The four pillars of Reagan’s economic policy were to reduce the growth of government spending, reduce the federal income tax and capital gains tax, reduce government regulation, and tighten the money supply in order to reduce inflation.

Reagan was inaugurated in January 1981, so the first fiscal year he budgeted was 1982 and the final year was 1989. According to the 2014 CBO historical budget tables the debt held by the public (a component of the national debt) rose from 25.2% GDP ($789 billion) in 1981 to 39.3% GDP ($2,190 trillion) in 1989. Additionally the federal deficit as percentage of GDP rose from 2.5% of GDP in fiscal year 1981 to a peak of 5.9% of GDP in 1983, then fell to 2.7% GDP in 1989.