If you read this book, you will learn quite a bit, much of which I already knew, but many do not. "Race" and sex in New Orleans, and elsewhere both during and after slavery. The significance of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), when segregation was on the rise. That the Spanish-American War encouraged racism at home. That Woodrow Wilson was a white supremacist who promoted the "truth" of the movie "Birth of a Nation."
But you will have to wade through the author telling you over and over again that Storyville is about race and sex. Everything under capitalism is about class oppression, "race" (national oppression) and the oppression of women. But there's way too much repetition and academic jargon.
And there's very little about jazz. I agree that Storyville should not be romanticized. Black musicians played there because it was pretty much the only place they were permitted to play. But still, there is a connection between Storyville and jazz, and complaining about sexist lyrics just doesn't cover it. The great jazz musicians were products of their time, and not having a mass audience yet, they said what many others thought and didn't say. They were less hypocritical, not more sexist.
I recommend this with some hesitation. I will also recommend (with a lot less hesitation) the only two books I've read that have much bearing on this: Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong and The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square.
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July 7, 2018
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
A good job of research on the historical context the Storyville phenomenon. It drags a bit as it repeats often the connection of Jim Crow and the decline of the sex zone and more or less skips over the decisive roll the US war department played in ending it.