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The Last Madam: A Life in the New Orleans Underworld

Wiltz, Christine

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ISBN 10: 0571199542 / ISBN 13: 9780571199549
Published by Faber & Faber, New York, NY, 2000
Condition: Very Good+ Hardcover
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About this Item

First edition stated on verso of title page; signed by Christine Wiltz on the half-title page with no inscription; some edge wear to dust jacket; otherwise a solid, clean copy with no marking or underlining; collectible condition; illustrated with black and white photographs; removable "Autographed Copy" sticker on front cover. Bookseller Inventory # 004090

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Last Madam: A Life in the New Orleans ...

Publisher: Faber & Faber, New York, NY

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good+

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good, Not Price Clipped

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: American First

About this title


The forty-year reign of New Orleans "madam" Norma Wallace is chronicled here, with plentiful accounts from the prostitutes, "johns," local celebrities, and cops who were part of this colorful drama set in the city's notorious Red Light District.


Actually, they called themselves "landladies" in New Orleans, though that didn't change the nature of their business: running houses of prostitution in the city's wide-open French Quarter. Beginning in 1920, when she was still in her teens, Norma Wallace managed a high-class bordello for an affluent and influential clientele, evading the police and asserting her sexual freedom "like a man" despite the nominal confines of several rickety marriages. Obsessive love for a man 39 years her junior and her first-ever jail term finally put Wallace out of the business in the mid-1960s, but her memories were still vivid and raunchy when she tape-recorded material for an autobiography in the two years before her suicide in 1974. Novelist Christine Wiltz makes good use of those recordings in an earthy narrative filled with great anecdotes, from how the name of Wallace's dog became local slang for an out-of-town customer to the time an undertaker's premises served as her temporary place of business. Wiltz also interviewed many of Wallace's lovers and associates; she draws on popular journalism and scholarly monographs with equal acuity to flesh out Norma's story. Her perceptive biography of a colorful and complex woman is equally satisfying as a social history of 20th-century New Orleans. --Wendy Smith

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