Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New OrleansRead about another book on the list.
by Gary Krist (Crown)
While there have been many fine books and articles written about New Orleans’s Storyville era, when prostitution was legalized in a district adjacent to the French Quarter, Gary Krist’s “Empire of Sin” is certainly one of the most well-researched and well-written, a true-life tale of a sui generis American city that reads like a historical thriller. At the end of the 19th century, the city devised a unique solution to its many perceived sins and opened a vice district called Storyville — where, reformers believed, all manner of sin could be contained. The next 30 years were some of the most dramatic in the city’s history as Storyville and its denizens were at loggerheads with “the city’s ongoing crusade for order, racial purity and respectability.” The book’s subtitle, “A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans,” sums up Krist’s story well — it’s a book both lurid and scholarly, and thoroughly entertaining. — Kevin Allman
The Page 99 Test: Empire of Sin.