Let The Good Times Roll With "Madam: A Novel of New Orleans"

When vice had a legal home and jazz was being born—the captivating story of an infamous true-life madam

New Orleans, 1900. Mary Deubler makes a meager living as an �alley whore.” That all changes when bible-thumping Alderman Sidney Story forces the creation of a red-light district that’s mockingly dubbed �Storyville.” Mary believes there’s no place for a lowly girl like her in the high-class bordellos of Storyville’s Basin Street, where Champagne flows and beautiful girls turn tricks in luxurious bedrooms.  But with gumption, twists of fate, even a touch of Voodoo, Mary rises above her hopeless lot to become the notorious Madame Josie Arlington.

Filled with fascinating historical details and cameos by Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, and E. J. Bellocq, Madam is a fantastic romp through The Big Easy and the irresistible story of a woman who rose to power long before the era of equal rights.  -Goodreads

 My Thoughts

Madam: A Novel of New Orleans, is a wonderfully narrated tour of New Orleans' more sordid past; as seen through the eyes of some of its most note worthy and notorious citizens.

This is a story of a New Orleans living in the shadow of Jim Crow, and nod the cusp of change.
The waning of the 1800's and the dawn of the 1900's brought many changes to New Orleans.  While the Jazz culture was in its infancy, the long and storied history of the bawdy girl or "crib prostitute" was at an end.  What rose in her place was a "respectable whore" from a house in the "legal red light district of Storyville."
Young Mary Deubler is doing all that she can to survive her drunkard of a pimp, Lobrano, her johns, and life as a low brow prostitute amid the filth and crime of Venus Alley.  Viewed by most as nothing but a worthless piece; Mary knows that she is destined for greater things.  What she doesn't know is how a combination of tragedy, intelligence, ingenuity, luck, and law will come together to make her one of the most famous and infamous madams of her time.

Mary is someone whose success one is glad of given all that she had to go through in order to achieve it.
This tale is so well crafted that it is hard to know what parts of it are fiction and what parts are fact. The colorful cast of heroes and villains that populate this tale really make this story all that much more real to the reader.  This is a tale of a person, a legend, a city, and a way of life.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like it might pair well with Out of the Easy by Sepetys. I really loved that book and would like to know more! Great review.


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