Pamela D. Arceneaux



Pamela D. Arceneaux is Senior Librarian and Rare Books Curator at The Historic New Orleans Collection, where she has worked since 1981.  A native of Panama City, Florida, and Thomasville, Georgia, she earned a BA in history from West Georgia College and an MLS from Louisiana State University.  She is a past recipient of the Louisiana Library Association’s Lucy B. Foote Award in recognition of her contributions as an outstanding librarian in a specialized field.




10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
State Capitol Building, House Committee Room 5
Book Talk
Guidebooks to Sin: The Blue Books of Storyville, New Orleans

11:15 a.m. to Noon
Barnes & Noble Bookselling Tent
Book Signing


Guidebooks to Sin: The Blue Books of Storyville, New Orleans

Between 1897 and 1917, a legal red-light district thrived at the edge of the French Quarter, helping establish the notorious reputation that adheres to New Orleans today. Though many scholars have written about Storyville, no thorough contemporary study of the blue books—directories of the neighborhood’s prostitutes, featuring advertisements for liquor, brothels, and venereal disease cures—has been available until now.

Pamela D. Arceneaux’s examination of these rare guides invites readers into a version of Storyville created by its own entrepreneurs. A foreword by the historian Emily Epstein Landau places the blue books in the context of their time, concurrent with the rise of American consumer culture and modern advertising. Illustrated with hundreds of facsimile pages from the blue books in The Historic New Orleans Collection’s holdings, Guidebooks to Sin illuminates the intersection of race, commerce, and sex in this essential chapter of New Orleans history.

Guidebooks to Sin is the single most comprehensive and authoritative guide to Storyville’s notorious blue books. Pamela D. Arceneaux carefully sorts out the genuine and the fake, the accurate and the apocryphal, to produce an invaluable resource for historians, collectors, and anyone interested in New Orleans history.”
—Gary Krist, author of Empire of Sin

“A classy, smart look at Storyville.”
—Christine Wiltz, author of The Last Madam

“Anyone who wants to take a very close and careful look at these sources, for pleasure or for analytical purposes, should use this book as their guide. The provenance chapter, tracing how those publications were collected and then transferred over time between discerning collectors interested in rare books and, only later, the history of New Orleans, is an interesting tale in and of itself.”
—Alecia P. Long, author of The Great Southern Babylon


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