Click to enlargeLast Madam

ISBN: ; Author: Wiltz, Chris et al; Publisher: Faber & Faber; Format: Paperback

The life and death of the woman who ran the last great brothel of old New Orleans. The French Quarter was full of hookers, nightspots like the old Cadillac and La Vida Club, and dance halls. Between Iberville and St. Louis Streets and from Bourbon to Rampart, every door had a girl hustling in it. I didn't start it-they were there when I got there. Sexy, shrewd Norma Wallace ran the last of the legendary houses of prostitution in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Two years before her death in 1974, she began to tape-record her memories-the salacious stories of a smart, glamorous, powerful woman whose scandalous life made front-page headlines, and whose husbands and lovers ran the gamut from movie stars to gangsters to a man thirty-nine years her junior. Christine Wiltz's The Last Madam is a chronicle of Norma's rise from a life of poverty to that of a wealthy underworld grande dame and her decline into the jealousy of a spurned wife; and it is the story of New Orleans over five decades, evoking the vice and corruption that flourished in the city's Old World atmosphere. Wiltz, a New Orleans native, spoke with the prostitutes who worked for Norma, the men who frequented her notorious house on Conti Street, and the cops who finally busted her, ending her forty-year reign as a madam-and ending an era in New Orleans. Christine Wiltz, author of the mysteries The Emerald Lizard, A Diamond Before You Die, and The Killing Circle, also wrote Glass House, an account of racial tension and fear in New Orleans, where she lives.

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