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Fifteen people, including three generations of women from the same family, were indicted Tuesday on federal charges of operating a nine-city prostitution ring based in New Orleans for more than seven years.
Tell us about it. A veritable treasure chest of archival data, packing with gems of information about sex in the antebellum city. She also profiles several infamous New Orleans sex workers, including Delia Swift, alias Bridget Fury, a flaming redhead with a fondness for stabbing men, and Emily Eubanks and her daughter Elisabeth, free women of color known for assaulting white women.
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Relying on ly unexamined court records and newly available newspaper articles, Schafer ably details the brutal and often harrowing lives of the women and young girls who engaged in prostitution. As a result, prosecutors dropped almost all prostitution cases before trial.
Error Details. The courts, in turn, often treated these "public women" leniently, exacting small fines or sending them to the city's workhouse for a few months.
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She lives in New Orleans with her husband. Some watched as gangs of rowdy men smashed their furniture; some endured beatings by their customers or other public women enraged by fits of jealousy; others were murdered.
Schafer discusses the sexual exploitation of children, sex across the color line, violence among and against public women, and the city's feeble attempts to suppress the trade. Louisiana law did not criminalize the selling of sex until the Progressive Era, although the law forbade keeping a brothel. When a priest suggested to one of the first governors of Louisiana that he banish all disreputable women to raise the colony's moral tone, the governor responded, "If I send away all the loose females, there will be no women left here at all.
The city's wealthy and influential landlords, some of whom made huge profits by renting their property as brothels, wanted their tenants back on the streets as soon as possible, and they often hired the best criminal attorneys to help release the women from jail.
Brothels, Depravity, and Abandoned Women. Although scholars have written much about prostitution in New Orleans' Storyville era, few historical studies on prostitution in antebellum New Orleans exist.
Your Name. Your. Schafer's rich analysis fills this gap and offers insight into an intriguing period in the history of the "oldest profession" in the Crescent City.
Many of these women continued to ply their trade in New Orleans. Police arrested individual public women on vague charges, for being "lewd and abandoned" or vagrants.