Media Contact:
Anne Robichaux
The Historic New Orleans Collection
(504) 598-7137

New Orleans, Louisiana - Registration for The Historic New Orleans Collection's 22nd annual Williams Research Center Symposium is now open. The event, titled "Storyville and Jazz, 1917: An End and a Beginning," will take place Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal St. in the French Quarter.

The symposium is part of a series of programming dedicated to the early days of jazz and Storyville. Other offerings include the release of the new book "Guidebooks to Sin: The Blue Books of Storyville, New Orleans" by THNOC Senior Librarian and Rare Books Curator Pamela D. Arceneaux on Friday, Feb. 3; the 11th annual "Musical Louisiana: America's Cultural Heritage" concert presented by THNOC and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra on Wednesday, Feb. 15; and the forthcoming exhibition "Storyville: Madams and Music," on view at the Williams Research Center, 410 Chartres St., beginning Wednesday, April 5.

At the symposium, local and nationally recognized scholars will examine the ways New Orleans's infamous red-light district and jazz have shaped perceptions of New Orleans around the world.

"The year 1917 marked the end of one era and a beginning for another," said THNOC Director of Museum Programs John H. Lawrence. "The centennial of Storyville's closing and the issuing of what is widely regarded as the first commercial jazz record gives us the chance to look at these two historical elements at a common moment in time."

With presentations exploring both historical perspectives and current scholarship, the symposium will be moderated by Bruce Boyd Raeburn, director of special collections and curator of the Hogan Jazz Archive and will feature the following speakers and topics:


  • Alecia P. Long of Louisiana State University will explore whether New Orleans was the great southern Babylon.
  • Jeff L. Rosenheim of the Metropolitan Museum of Art will discuss the photographs of E. J. Bellocq and Eugène Atget.
  • David Sager of the Recorded Sound Research Center, Library of Congress, will discuss recording and appreciating jazz before and after 1917.
  • Dr. Michael G. White, jazz musician, historian and Keller Endowed Chair in the Humanities, Xavier University, New Orleans, will share a personal perspective on a life in the authentic New Orleans jazz tradition.
  • Ted Widmer of the John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress, will discuss why the world needed jazz in 1917.
  • In addition, Raeburn will moderate a panel discussion-"‘All that Jazz' in New Orleans"- with Karen Armagost, New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park; Greg Lambousy, New Orleans Jazz Museum; Rachel E. Lyons, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation; and Ron Rona, Preservation Hall.


Registration is required to attend the symposium, with rates ranging between $50 and $85. Registration will remain open as long as space is available.

Registration fees include the full day of presentations on Saturday, Feb. 4 and a reception offering the opportunity to interact with the speakers. For more information, including a complete schedule of talks and links to online registration, visit

The 22nd annual Williams Research Center Symposium is presented by The Historic New Orleans Collection with support from Hotel Monteleone and ClearBridge Advisors, Inc. Additional support is provided by St. Denis J. Villere & Co.; Becker Suffern McLanahan, Ltd.; AOS Interior Environments; Baptist Community Ministries; Bywater Woodworks, Inc.; Exterior Designs, Inc.; Milling Benson Woodward, LLP; Waggonner & Ball Architects; New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau; New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation; Premium Parking; and Solaris Garage.

Related programming
Book release for "Guidebooks to Sin: The Blue Books of Storyville, New Orleans"
Friday, Feb. 3, 2017
5:30-6:30 p.m.: Lecture by Pamela D. Arceneaux, THNOC Senior Librarian/Rare Books Curator, at the Queen Anne Ballroom, in the Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal St.

6:30-8 p.m.: Reception and book signing at The Historic New Orleans Collection, 533 Royal St.
Admission is free, but reservations are required. Email or call (504) 523-4662 to make reservations.

Between 1897 and 1917, a legal red-light district thrived at the edge of the French Quarter, helping establish the notorious reputation that adheres to New Orleans today. Though many scholars have written about Storyville, no thorough contemporary study of the blue books-directories of the neighborhood's prostitutes, featuring advertisements for liquor, brothels and other goods and services-has been available until now.
Pamela D. Arceneaux's examination of these rare guides invites readers into a version of Storyville created by its own entrepreneurs. A foreword by historian Emily Epstein Landau places the blue books in the context of their time, concurrent with the rise of American consumer culture and modern advertising. Illustrated with hundreds of facsimile pages from the blue books in The Historic New Orleans Collection's holdings, "Guidebooks to Sin illuminates" the intersection of race, commerce and sex in this essential chapter of New Orleans history.

"Uniquely New Orleans: The Classical Tradition and Jazz," the 11th annual "Musical Louisiana: America's Cultural Heritage" concert, presented by THNOC and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra
Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017
7:30 p.m. (Doors open at 7 p.m.)
St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square
Admission is free. Doors will open precisely at 7 p.m., and the concert will begin at 7:30 p.m.

The Historic New Orleans Collection and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra will present "Uniquely New Orleans: The Classical Tradition and Jazz," the eleventh installment of Musical Louisiana: America's Cultural Heritage. The popular series examines the state's contributions to classical music with a free public concert as well as award-winning educational programming.
The 2017 concert will highlight jazz's impact on classical music and includes selections by Cole Porter, Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin, and Jelly Roll Morton. Carlos Miguel Prieto will conduct, and New Orleans native and theater star Vernel Bagneris will serve as narrator. Guest performers include jazz vocalist Germaine Bazzle, pianists James Dapogny and Ronald Joseph, clarinetist Christopher Pell and young-artist-in-residence at the St. Louis Cathedral and organist Emmanuel Arakélian.
This project is sponsored in part by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation, with additional support provided by Valentino New Orleans Hotels and the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris. WWOZ 90.7 FM is supporting live streaming of the concert on, and WWNO will broadcast the concert live on 89.9 FM and Classical 104.9 FM in the New Orleans area, on 90.5 KTLN in the Houma-Thibodeaux area and on

"Storyville: Madams and Music," an exhibition
Opening Wednesday, April 5, 2017
THNOC's Williams Research Center, 410 Chartres St.
Admission is free. The galleries will be open Tuesday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., excluding holidays.

Storyville: Madams and Music" revives the sights and sounds of New Orleans's former red-light district a century after its closing. Using a diverse display of photographs, maps, postcards, contemporary objects, and the infamous blue books that served as directories to the District, the exhibition encourages a better understanding of the music, people, and businesses that shaped the complicated legacies of Storyville.


About The Historic New Orleans Collection
Founded in 1966, The Historic New Orleans Collection is a museum, research center and publisher dedicated to the study and preservation of the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South region. For more information, visit or call (504) 523-4662.

Editor's Note:
Images pertaining to the symposium and the related programming are available to members of the media. Contact Anne Robichaux at or (504) 598-7137 to make a request.