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New Orleans has long been known as a sinful city peddling prostitution, a fact that draws tourists from afar. However, during World War I, the US military believed prostitution corrupted the minds and morals of vulnerable young soldiers and exposed them to venereal diseases.
Inthe US military closed Storyville indefinitely. Prostitution continued in New Orleans but in a different form. Photographed by John Vachon and courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Many local officials feared eliminating the vice trade would hurt the local economy and some were even soliciting prostitutes themselves. As the United States mobilized for total war, military bases and airfields sprang up around New Orleans and created a mass profit for the city and for the state of Louisiana.
Storyville, new orleans
Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine. The US military and SPD responded and decided to use the city's sinful reputation as the basis for their campaign which targeted sex workers and promiscuous women, labeling them as enemies similar to the Axis powers. To gain support from local officials, they ramped up pressure on Mayor Maestri to do his patriotic duty bourbon street escorts the war effort. When officers could not prove the women were prostitutes, they instead charged them with crimes such as intoxication, vagrancy, and disturbing the peace.
Any woman with suspicious behavior was in danger of being accused and treated as a prostitute.
After women were arrested, they were tested for venereal diseases, quarantined, and required to go through treatment. In this way, women were pressured to adhere to their gender roles in the household or short term factory work for the sake of the American war effort. The infected soldiers, however, went unpunished.
The men were treated with penicillin used to treat venereal diseases and spent two to six weeks in quarantine. From May to Februarythe Times-Picayune, a prominent New Orleans newspaper, released statistics that the New Orleans Police Department had arrested 2, women for prostitution and other related charges.
Although New Orleans officials belatedly supported the crackdown on prostitution and banned military men from entering brothels insome of the soldiers found ways around this prohibition to satiate their sexual desires. Rental clothing shops started to pop up around brothels so that soldiers could rent civilian clothes in order to enter houses of prostitution.
Taxi drivers also helped soldiers by picking up rented clothes for them.
Taxi drivers frequently held meetings with prostitutes and madams, and even permitted romantic affairs to take place in their taxi. While men continued to frequent bourbon street escorts in New Orleans, police proceeded to arrest a large of innocent women in a series of violent, racially motivated operations. US soldiers provided many of the le that led to these arrests. Under Ordinancedetained women also had to wait in jail among other accused criminals until their test came in, regardless of whether they were actually prostitutes.
All women arrested for prostitution or related charges went to one court and received the same trial judge, Gaston Rose. As the end of World War II approached in mid, many New Orleaneans feared that the reopening of brothels would tarnish the image of the city, while former prostitutes and madams were thrilled to get back to business. On December 1,SPD closed its doors and relocated elsewhere because of lack of federal funding.
The New Orleans Police Department also lost interest in targeting suspected bourbon street escorts.
On December 28,Dr. John M. The houses are under police control I wouldn't be surprised if a lot more open for the Sugar Bowl and Mardi Gras. Hegarty, Marilyn E. Landau, Emily E. Long, Alecia. Only about 1, of them were pilots.
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