Being an Authentic, Illustrated Account of the Notorious Red-Light District

By Al Rose

The University of Alabama Press

Copyright © 1974 The University of Alabama Press. All rights reserved.
ISBN: 0-8173-4403-9

Chapter One

Basin Street
Open for Business

Prostitution was a favorite avocation, and formany the profession, of an extraordinarily largeproportion of the earliest female residents of NewOrleans. These women came to the New Worldunder royal auspices, for it was the French kingsBasin Street Louis XIV and, after 1715, "the Well-Beloved"Louis XV (through his regent, the duke of Orléans),who were, in a manner of speaking, thecity's first procurers. As such, they were responsiblefor transporting to the new French colonyof Louisiana many dozens, and indeed hundreds,of prostitutes and other disreputable women—including,it is said, the real-life Manon Lescaut,the prostitute-heroine of Abbé Prevost's celebrated novel.

    And if the kings (or in the case of Louis XV,the regent) were procurers, the MississippiCompany of that notorious scoundrel John Lawwas a white-slave gang—and not merely in amanner of speaking. It was common knowledgethat this company, in furtherance of its landpromotions, kidnapped innumerable "gypsies"and other "women of bad repute" and shippedthem off to the New World as "colonists." Amongthe kidnapped there were, of course, a numberof hitherto respectable people of both sexes, whowere herded away to Louisiana, along withprostitutes, thieves, vagabonds, and every otherkind of wretch.

   Charles Gayarré relates, for example, in hisHistory of Louisiana (1847), that on January 31721, "a ship of the company [that is, of theMississippi Company] arrived ... and in Februaryeighty girls who had been taken from ahouse of correction in Paris called La Salpêtrièrewere landed in Louisiana." These women,according to Jean Baptiste le Moyne, Sieur deBienville, then governor of the colony, "had notbeen well selected." Intended to serve as wivesto male colonists who had been shunted toLouisiana from Canada, where they bad evidentlyacquired a taste for Indian women, mostof the "correction girls," as they would becalled by historians willing to admit to theirexistence, "could not be restrained" no matterwhat "vigilance [was] exercised upon them." "Itwould seem," Gayarré noted, "that dissolutewomen were not looked upon as being includedin [a] recent royal edict which prohibited thetransportation to Louisiana of ... persons ofbad morals; or it may be that this edict, as itis frequently with such things, had been issuedmerely to stand on paper for some particularpurpose, but not to be executed."

    At all events, with the apparent blessings ofFrench kings and dukes and their lackeys,seeds had been sown whose fruits would be along succession of New Orleans red-light districts.And this state of affairs quite suited thetastes of many of the early inhabitants, who hadbeen chacterized by an earlier governor, Antoinede la Mothe Cadillac, in 1714, as "no betterthan the ["wretched"] country; they are thevery scum and refuse of Canada, ruffians whohave thus far cheated the gibbet of its due, vagabondswho are without subordination to thelaws, without any respect for religion or for thegovernment, graceless profligates, who are sosteeped in vice that they prefer the Indian femalesto the French women? Importuned bypious missionaries to expel "loose women" fromLouisiana, Cadillac declared that if he did this"there would be no females left, and this wouldnot suit the views of the [French] government."

    The Spanish government, to which New Orleanswas ceded by the French in 1762, hadsomewhat different views. The Spanish governorEsteban Rodríguez Miró made it clear, for example,that he had no taste for the fruits ofthe French kings' planting. In his Bando debuen gobierno (June 2, 1786), a proclamationissued upon his assuming office and summarizedin François Xavier Martin's History of Louisiana(1827): "He declares his intention to proceedwith severity against all persons living in concubinage.He observes that the idleness of freenegro, mulatto, and quarteroon [sic] women,resulting in their dependence for a livelihood,on incontinence and libertinism, will not betolerated. He recommends them to renounce theirmode of living, and to betake themselves tohonest labor; and declares his determination tohave those who neglect his recommendation,sent out of the province, warning them that hewill consider their excessive attention to dress,as an evidence of misconduct."

    Louis XV's edict against transporting womenof loose morals to the colonies, alluded to earlier,had not actually prevented such transportation.Similarly, it is doubtful that Miró's stated policieshad much effect on the incidence of prostitutionin New Orleans. Prostitution was accepted as afact of life in both France and Spain, and theLatinate governors in the New World, unliketheir New England counterparts, were not, byand large, religious zealots. (Governor Miró, indeed,is credited with having risked his ownneck to thwart an attempt by certain Spanishclerical interests to impose the Holy Inquisitionon Louisiana. As Gayarré commented: "Consideringthe dread in which the holy tribunal ofthe Inquisition had always been held in Spain,the energy with which Miró acted on this occasioncannot be too much admired.")

    During all these years prostitution, and stillmore commonly, concubinage (much of it interracial)existed to a seemly degree and waspracticed, for the most part, with some discretionand, among the propertied classes, withsome regard for good manners. And, even takinginto account places catering to men off theriver and the other "lower" elements, there simplywasn't all that much of it, relative to thetotal population. It was only after the Americanaccession to power in 1803, only after the introductionof "puritan" morality, that prostitutionburst forth out of all previous bounds withinthe decade.

    The infusion of puritan hypocrisy into OldNew Orleans was not the sole factor, of course.For one thing, Mississippi River commerce increasedenormously, bringing to New Orleansriotous crews of rough and ready rivermen—freshoff their boats, eager for whiskey andwomen, and with money in their pockets. Increasingnumbers of prostitutes, gamblers, andother tenderloin types gravitated to the citywhere the money was. Finally, toward the endof the War in 1812, Andrew Jackson led hisill-assorted thousands to New Orleans to battlethe British. This horde, sometimes called the"dirtiest troops who ever defended freedom,"made the trip without too much grumbling onthe promise they would be paid off, includingaccrued back pay, in the Crescent City. Thispromise and the troop movement were not secret,and the convergence of prostitutes on NewOrleans soon became a scarlet migration withoutprecedent. Loose ladies who followed the dollarsniffed a savory air and came from all overthe country.

    The city was situated then, as it is now, on sea-leveldelta land. Generations of Creole inhabitantshad been going just "back-o-town"—a fewblocks from the French Quarter—for landfillwith which to build up home and business sites.The most convenient place from which to obtainthis earth gradually became larger anddeeper and soon filled with water to form asizeable pond or "basin."

    New Orleans' self-styled solid citizens, unwillingto accept the regiments of whores intoCreole society, barred them from living or doingbusiness in the city itself. At this time, the entirecity was what later could be called the"French Quarter" (or Vieux Carré), and the"basin" was still well outside. The loose ladiesretreated to the latter. With their own hands,and with a bit of help from levee loungersand members of General Jackson's forces, theydug a drainage ditch, erected shacks and shantiesfor themselves, and hung out their red lanterns."Basin Street" was open for business.

    With the presence of the army and with constantlyincreasing river traffic, the bawds prosperedand managed, for the most part, to survivethe yellow fever epidemics of the early 1830s(during which, it is said, they performedheroically as nurses). They even paid liberallyto improve sanitation in the area, and fared wellwithout interruption until 1849, when the Californiagold rush turned the area into a ghosttown in a few months. As suddenly as they hadarrived, most of these mobile "ladies of theevening" left to seek better fortune among theprospectors. Those who remained struggledalong for a half-dozen years, invading all partsof the burgeoning metropolis, including the uptown"American Section" (what is now calledthe Garden District and the Irish Channel).

    The first of the tenderloin districts of NewOrleans to attain special notoriety was the"Swamp," an area bounded by South Libertyand South Robertson streets, and by Girod andJulia streets. It was an incredible jumble ofcheap dance halls, brothels, saloons and gamingrooms, cockfighting pits, and roominghouses. A one-story shantytown jammed into ahalf-dozen teeming blocks, the Swamp was thescene of some eight-hundred known murdersbetween 1820 and 1850. Into this fearsome hellthe city's police feared to go and indeed didnot go.

    Construction was primitive indeed, most ofthe lumber being timbers from old disassembledflatboats and crude cypress planks. Every proprietorhad to be ready to defend his life andproperty at all times. Deceptive signs like"House of Rest For Weary Boatmen" (which alltoo frequently meant permanent rest) werecrudely painted on the fronts of these shacksand lighted by red lanterns. In the dense fogsthat are so common in New Orleans the arealooked at night as if it were being consumedby a huge conflagration—as indeed many NewOrleanians prayed it would be.

    The ordinances that the city fathers put onthe books to control the situation proved to beludicrously inadequate. The first, passed in 1817,provided for a twenty-five dollar fine or thirty-daysimprisonment of any woman deemed "notoriouslyabandoned to lewdness" who "shalloccasion scandals or disturb the tranquillity ofthe neighborhood," plus certain other punishmentsfor furnishing lodging to such a woman.By 1837 any three "respectable citizens" couldby signing a petition empower the mayor toorder eviction of prostitutes from any premisesnamed in the complaint. In 1839 harlotswere proscribed from inhabiting the groundfloors of surrounding alleys and walks of anybuilding in the city. By 1845 all coffee housesand places of entertainment where alcoholicbeverages were sold were declared legally off-limitsto prostitutes.

    Such laws were unenforced because they wereunenforceable. Throughout the entire period,while the city fathers passed ordinances, therough, tough "ladies of the evening" were attractinghundreds of flatboatmen, "Kaintucks,"and the assorted underworld types with whichport cities have always been well stocked andwere "processing" them with assembly-line precisionand then turning them out penniless intothe dawn. The arsenal of weapons used to extractthe loot ranged from cajolery to coldsteel, through an inventory of pistols, "knockoutdrops," and blunt, heavy objects, to the standardflow of whiskey dispensed over crude bars.A man could wander into the Swamp and forthe going rate of a picayune (about six cents)obtain a bed for the night, a drink of whiskey,and a woman. So long as he carried no othermoney he was eager to defend, he had a betterthan average chance of leaving in the morningunder his own power and without further economicloss.

    By 1856 property owners and religious groupshad found so much occasion to complain aboutthe social and economic effects of prostitution inthe city that a serious attempt was made toregulate it legislatively. Accordingly, the CommonCouncil, in 1857, passed New Orleans' firstordinance designed to acknowledge the existenceof prostitution by requiring licensing and therebymaking this particular profession taxable.No such effort had ever been made in Americabefore.

    This legislation could have made the Swamprelatively safe and, at the same time, been astrong factor in controlling the city's oldest profession,which by now had spread into everyneighborhood. But, alas, the ordinance was notto survive its first legal test.

    On May 22, 1857, a Mrs. Emma Pickett appliedfor a license to operate a bagnio at 25St. John Street, between Gravier and Perdidostreets, but she paid her license fee, as requiredby the new ordinance, under protest, and immediatelyfiled suit to recover the fee. The casedragged on through 1858 into the spring of 1859,when the appellate courts declared the law tobe unconstitutional.

    The jubilant bawds and their protectorsflaunted their sins even more openly. Mrs.Pickett's victory was hailed by carriage-bornegroups of hundreds of painted hussies variouslyconstumed, rolling along Canal Street andthrough the French Quarter, gesturing obscenely,displaying themselves, insulting shocked housewives,and otherwise calling attention to thetriumph of the sin industry.

    During the late 1850s and early 1860s theSwamp declined for purely geographical reasons,as its inhabitants drifted downtown intoGallatin Street behind the French Market, a locationeven more convenient, now that pretenseof legal control had been demolished, and wherethe pedestrian traffic was heavier.

    Gallatin Street, just two blocks long, was atrue "port of missing men," along which policewere constantly on the lookout for missing personsfrom all over the world. Frequently, thesewere to be found among the bartenders, cutthroats,dance-house operators, fight promoters,thieves, thugs, and pimps who made up thepermanent male population of the street.

    Mortality among law enforcement officers washigh, and the police soon learned to tackle theGallatin Street beat only in groups. The streetwas the center of narcotics traffic, as well asthe home of dealers in stolen goods. Fugitivesfrom every nation's laws found shelter here.

    Mike Haden, who had so thoroughly ventilatedhis brother with a razor; America Williams,"the world's strongest whore"; Mary Schwartz,who had permanently blinded a customer in arow over her fifty-cent fee; Red-Light Liz, theone-eyed paramour of Joe the Whipper, whomade a good living administering beatings tomasochistic harlots, using whips, switches, steelrods, razor straps, or canes, according to thelady's preference—such as these were typicalof those who found safe haven on GallatinStreet.

    There was music to be heard in the area's"dance houses" from dusk to dawn. These werestaffed with women, unpaid by the managements,who were there to solicit customers.Nightly, a visitor might find base amusementsin any one of these places where men dancedwith naked women on crowded floors to theraucous sounds of improvised musical groups ofrandom instrumentation.

    A reporter for the New Orleans Daily Picayune(July 31, 1869) described a typical dance houseas "... filthy and unclean to a degree ...[that] beggars description ... a piano andtwo or three trombones for an orchestra ...dances so abandoned and reckless that the cancanin comparison seemed maidenly and respectable."He noted, in particular, "a state ofawful nudity."

    Among the most notorious of the so-calleddance houses was the one operated by DanO'Neil from 1860 to 1869. Its demise was hastenedby his act of vengeance against an erring harlotwho had been close to his heart but whom hedrugged, stripped, and threw into an alley whereshe was raped and otherwise maltreated by agroup of savage and intoxicated hoodlums. Forhis part in the affair, O'Neil was arrested andhis place of business, the Amsterdam, was padlocked.Powerful friends in city hall arrangedfor his release and acquittal, but after a coupleof further openings and closings, the premiseswere shuttered for good. Considering the normalrun of activity in Gallatin Street, theseevents would not seem to have been seriousenough to cause a place to be closed down. In aletter to one of the city's newspapers (July 31,1869), O'Neil theorized on the reasons for hisdifficulties with the authorities:

To the reporter of the N.O. Times—About the Amsterdam Dance House—there ain't much in it, as you have written, as appeared in your evening's edition, that's true. As for leaving there I paid, during the past five months, to the Captain of Police, $80 for each of three months, and $40 for each of two. In other words, I paid the police during that time, $320 for keeping the place open. I believe if there had been no trouble about paying up regular I would have been allowed to stay there still.
Dan'l O'Neil

    Meanwhile, the part of Basin Street that wasdestined to become the main stem of Storyvillecontinued its rise as a vice center. The DailySouthern Star (January 26, 1866) proc]aimedit a "public calamity," complaining that althoughit had "natural attractions and advantages," notthe least of which were "avenues of beautifultrees" along the center of the street, it was "occupiedby the low classes of immodest and impurewomen." The paper, advocating reform,also complained that so beautiful a street, whichmight well serve for a first-class residential area,was "synonymous with crime and degradation."

    A little enviously, it reported that "the onlyimprovement there recently consisted in theerection of a spacious and elegant house, costingfrom thirty to fifty thousand dollars, to beoccupied when completed by a ... classwhich created for Basin Street a name notcreditable to the city or the locality." This presumablyrefers to the house of Hattie Hamiltonat 21 South Basin Street. The Tagliche DeutscheZeitung, the city's German daily, would laterreport (September 22, 1870) that citizens livingin and around South Basin Street were seekingan injunction to stop its operation.

    During the 1870s and until 1885, possibly thelowest element ever to practice prostitution inNew Orleans was crowded into a single blockof Burgundy Street between Conti and Bienvillestreets, known to the press and citizenryof the era as "Smoky Row."

    Its contentious inhabitants, numbering nearlya hundred female blacks who ranged in agefrom prepuberty to the seventies and engagedactively, one and all, in the game of commercialsex, would line the banquette (sidewalk), seatedon curbs or in wicker rocking chairs, dippingsnuff, chewing cigars and tobacco, smoking pipes,and drinking beer and whiskey. The more notoriousamong them—Gallus Lu, Kidney-Foot Jenny,Fightin' Mary, and Sister Sal (who becameknown as One-Eye Sal after an altercation withFightin' Mary)—were known to the police andpress as the most dangerous and indeed murderouswomen in town.

    It must be assumed that some of the menwho took their pleasure along Smoky Row didso of their own choice, but this collection ofsluts in low-cut, filthy Mother Hubbards musthave been of the most limited seductiveness.This is probably why at least a portion of theRow's income depended on the women's literallydragging men in off the street, spitting tobaccojuice in their eyes to blind them, slugging themover the head with baseball bats, robbing them,and tossing them unconscious back into BurgundyStreet.

    Increasing public pressure inspired the policeto make a decisive move against Smoky Rowand its inhabitants in July, 1885. Gallus Lu,One-Eyed Sal, and their cohorts in the blockwere successfully encouraged to leave. The officersmade an attempt to unearth the manybodies that were said to be buried in the patiosand courtyards of the buildings, but they foundnone. They did find several score bloodstainedwallets (empty) and a mound of miscellaneousitems of male apparel.

    While Gallatin Street and Smoky Row cateredto the more primitive elements, the"flower of evil" was achieving a handsome fullbloom in the high-class establishments of SouthBasin Street. Here were such celebrated courtesansas Minnie Ha Ha, Kate Townsend, andHattie Hamilton. These early queens of the underworld,all of pre-Storyville days, were farmore gracious practitioners of the purple artsthan their more professional sisters who wouldflourish later in Storyville.

    Orleanians today continue to recall them andtheir era, as well as some of the men who werepart of that showy scene, with a touch of affectionatenostalgia.

    Hattie Hamilton, probably the first of the influentialwhore-queens, was the mistress ofSenator James Beares, with whose help she rebuiltthe palace at 21 South Basin Street, knownas the Twenty-One. A New Orleans DailyPicayune reporter "reviewed" the premises onFebruary 7, 1869:

The entrance was through a passageway adorned with a couple of statues representing some obscure divinities of light, and in whose hands were held lighted flambeaux. Beyond this lay the drawing-room, peopled with a few figures in glittering attire, and who, from their costumes and manners, might have been visitants from the Mountains of the Moon. Neither did the decorations of the rooms, in the pictures that hung on the walls, the plated mirrors, the delicately tinted furniture, appear to be altogether of a sub-lunar character, though evidently intended to embody a sybarite's dream—luxury and repose. The grotesque and bizarre aspect of everything —splendor without comfort, glitter and sparkle suggestive of death and decay—gave rise to singular reflections.

    In May of 1870 the senator was shot to deathat his home, where Hattie was living with him.As the butler hurried in, Hattie was still holdingthe smoking pistol in her hand, but she wasreleased without questioning by the police. TheTwenty-One's popularity waned thereafter, forlack of the "high-class" patronage that the senatorhad directed to Hattie's at fifty dollars per.

    Hattie's successor as queen bee of the pre-Storyvilledemimonde was the celebrated andnotorious Kate Townsend, of 40 South BasinStreet, whose melodramatic career ended inabrupt violence on November 3, 1883, at thehands of her ne'er-do-well Creole lover, TroisvilleSykes. This was the most widely publicizedsex murder in New Orleans history.

    Sykes pleaded not guilty. He was able to establishthe fact that he had stabbed Kate witha bowie knife only in self-defense and was acquitted.He then proceeded to offer her will forprobate. She had wished, this document attested,to leave all her worldly goods—slightlyover ninety thousand dollars—to him. After fiveyears of courtroom nonsense, most of it centeringaround the concubinage law, Sykes emergedwith a grant of about thirty dollars.

    It has been asserted by many observers thatwith Kate Townsend prostitution in New Orleansreached its pinnacle of luxury. The DailyPicayune, in its account of her demise (November4, 1883), described her room:

In the left-hand corner was a magnificent etagere, upon which were statuettes, the work of renowned artists, and small articles of verdu, betraying great taste both in selection and arrangement. A finely carved though small table stood next, while adjoining this was a splendid glass door armoire, on the shelves of which were stored a plethora of the finest linen wear and bed clothing. Next to the armoire was a rep and damask sofa and over the mantel was a French mirror with a gilt frame. A large sideboard stood in the corner next to a window on the other side of the chimney, and in this was stored a large quantity of silverware. Another armoire similar to the one described, a table and the bed completed the furnishings in the room. Saving the armchairs, of which there were a number, covered with the finest rep and damask, with tete-a-tetes to match. The hangings of the bed, even the mosquito bar, were of lace, and an exquisite basket of flowers hung suspended from the tester of the bed. Around the walls were suspended chaste and costly oil paintings. The bloodstained carpet was of the finest velvet.

    In the economically deflated eighties, champagneat fifteen to fifty dollars a quart and afee for sexual services fixed at a hundred anight made Kate Townsend's the flossiest brothelin the hemisphere. Catering strictly to the carriagetrade, at these prices, the madams requiredevening dress of their patrons, ball gownsof their girls—downstairs. Most of the acceptedrules of etiquette applied and the young Cyprianswere carefully schooled in good mannersand tasteful grooming.

    La Townsend permitted, in fact encouraged,charge accounts, and once a man had establishedhis credit, he was treated like a king. Her investigativefacilities are said to have been asefficient as today's major credit bureaus, thoughshe operated through channels less conventionalthan theirs.

    Contemporary with Kate Townsend and HattieHamilton was the remarkable Minnie Ha Ha, anotherof the early Basin Street madams, whopreferred that Orleanians take her to be an Indianrather than a Negro. In the late 1860s herswas one of the most elaborate mansions in thecity. She was descended, she asserted, from Mr.and Mrs. Hiawatha, and an oil painting of theseforebears graced her wall as documentation.

    These were among the more orthodox entrepreneursof the red light. Others were less conventional.Perhaps the most colorful adventuressever to keep a house of assignation in New Orleanswas Fanny Sweet—thief, lesbian, Confederatespy, poisoner, procuress, and brawler—whoseaffairs were, in part, guided by theubiquitous "queen of the voodoos," Marie Laveau,and her "staff."

    In 1860 Fanny enlisted the aid of the voodooqueen to turn up an "angel" to finance anew brothel venture. She was convinced thatit was the "Laveau power" that was responsiblefor the entry into her life of the patron whoprovided her with the house at the corner ofSouth Basin and Gasquet streets and stockedit with imported potables and the best domestichelp. Here, unknown to her generous "john,"she mulcted old men of thousands upon thousandsof dollars by a judicious combination ofthe procurement of innocent young girls andsubsequent blackmail. Fanny's confidence in the"black arts" became public knowledge later thesame year when she was one of those roundedup in a police raid on a voodoo ceremony. Thenext year, when Fanny was accused of poisoninga lover, the police went through her placeand turned up all manner of gris-gris and voodooparaphernalia, including a lock of humanhair—bloodstained. The magic seems to haveserved her well: Fanny Sweet never did timefor any of her innumerable misdeeds. She operatedher house for two uninterrupted decadesbefore her final retirement in 1889. She diedin Pensacola, Florida, in 1895, at the age ofabout sixty-five.

    Josephine Clare, said to be the District's most"frigid" tart, was Madame Gertie Livingston'sprime attraction. Various prizes were advertisedfor the Lochinvar who could bring her tolife but, so far as is known, the widely known"Josephine Icebox" was never defrosted.

    Happy Charley was an entertainer whoamused patrons of saloons in the tenderloin byplaying a tin whistle through his nose while singing,somehow, some lines that the Lantern forMay 14, 1887, would preserve under the title"Der Nue Orleans Tuff":

I am a man dat most of yer know,
I'm known as a knocker wherever I go.
My fame it is fightin'; I kan't get enuff,
All over de town dey call me a tuff;
Yes, I'm a man dat de people all dread,
And when I gets rowdy I paints de town red.
I know all de cops; I stan' in wid de roughs,
Yer kin bet yer sweet life I'm er Nu'Leens tuff.

On one occasion, the record shows, Charleysang this blustering number to the wrong man.The ensuing challenge to his claims of fisticprowess left him with a broken nose that affectedhis musical virtuosity adversely. In 1895he was managing a Franklin Street bar and nolonger "performing."

    In Archie Murphy's Gallatin Street dance hallwere such characters as Lizzie Collins, who developeda compulsion to steal all the buttonsfrom her customers' trousers, an eccentricitythat led eventually to her being banished fromthe premises.

    Bricktop Jackson, with knife and slingshot,fought her way through dozens of brawls, killingat least four men and committing mayhemon many another. She wielded a fifteen-inchknife with a silver handle in the middle andlethal steel protruding from either end. Herlover, John Miller, wore a chain and an iron ballin place of a left arm. In combat, this apparatus,coupled with a long-handled knife in his righthand, was formidable indeed, but not enoughso to protect him from the rages of his pugnaciousmistress, who did him in on December7, 1861. At this time the New Orleans Daily Crescenttook note of Bricktop's "bestial habits andferocious manners." On another occasion, in companywith two other bawds, Ellen Collins andsix-foot America Williams, Bricktop stood trialfor a murder that they had committed beforemany witnesses but of which, for reasons stilluntold, all three were acquitted.

    America Williams was called the "Heavy-weightChampion of Gallatin Street," her gendernotwithstanding. She defended her titlesuccessfully for many years against inebriatedchallengers of both sexes, but by GallatinStreet rather than Marquis of Queensberryrules.

    One-Legged Duffy (née Mary Rich) did notfare so well. Her boy friend not only stabbed herbut bashed out her brains with her own woodenleg. The mid-nineteenth-century New Orleansunderworld was not distinguished for gallantry.

    Bridget Fury (née Della Swift) became aprostitute at twelve in Cleveland, Ohio, butcame to New Orleans at an early age, achievedwide notoriety for her ruggedness and skillin hand-to-hand combat, and ended up in jailfor murder.