Eli A. Haddow
The Historic New Orleans Collection
Sarah Chambless Federer
New Orleans, Louisiana-The Historic New Orleans Collection will release its much anticipated new book "Guidebooks to Sin: The Blue Books of Storyville, New Orleans" on Feb. 3, and author Pamela D. Arceneaux will discuss and sign copies of the book at two local independent bookstores in the first week.
Arceneaux will speak at Octavia Books on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 6 p.m. and then at Maple Street Book Shop on Thursday, Feb. 9, at 6 p.m. Both of these events are free and open to the public, and Arceneaux will be available to sign copies of the book on both evenings.
"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 1897 to 1917.
The blue books arose from an integral and complicated point in New Orleans history, when class consciousness and tourism intersected with race and prostitution through modern advertising. Because they were originally created as disposable resources, few editions exist today-100 years after Storyville's closure-and THNOC houses one of the largest collections of these curious pieces of Americana.
In "Guidebooks to Sin," Arceneaux illustrates her decades of research with facsimile pages from 25 guides (15 original Storyville guides plus 10 imitations that were produced decades after the District officially closed). Together with Emily Epstein Landau's foreword, 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.
A hardcover, archival-quality art book, "Guidebooks to Sin" features more than 300 images and retails for $50. For more information, visit www.hnoc.org/books.
Upcoming local Guidebooks to Sin events with author Pamela D. Arceneaux
Tuesday, February 7 at 6 p.m.
513 Octavia St.
Thursday, February 9 at 6 p.m.
Maple Street Book Shop
7529 Maple St.