Brothels, Depravity, and Abandoned Women is organized thematically into nine chapters, plus a brief introduction and conclusion, exploring the relationship between commercial sex and Louisiana law; interracial sex; the sexual exploitation of children; “infamous public women”; crime among and between prostitutes; violence in prostitutes’ lives; the (rare) trial of a prostitute’s murderer, providing a revealing look into social and legal attitudes toward women, gender roles, sexuality, and prostitution; the business of brothel keeping; and a final chapter on the passage of what is known as the Lorette Ordinance, a failed attempt in 1857 to regulate some, and criminalize other, aspects of prostitution. The book brims with stories: wonderful, awful, intriguing, maddening stories about women with nicknames like “Judy Come Home with the Soap,” and is itself a primer on how to conduct archival research, especially in court records.Read on here. The review was commissioned and published by H-Histsex.
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