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New Orleans History > Empire of Sin

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message 1: by Scott (last edited Apr 26, 2015 09:36AM) (new)

Scott | 26 comments I was kind of surprised this gets mixed reviews on Amazon. I thought it was fantastic. Perhaps it is the fact that the author tries to tie so many topics together into as he calls it "civil war" in modern New Orleans. I don't think he was trying to do anything more than give the period a loose theme. It covers so much ground: The murder of chief Henessey(my link) , The Black hand (loosely organized mafia), Storyville, Jazz, the Axe Man murders, Jim Crow laws, Robert Charles, etc...

it is a hard sell that for anyone to claim that all those things are connected but they are all things that New Orleans was dealing with around the turn of the 20th century. I thought this was a fantastic book on New Orleans from the end of Reconstruction to just before the reign of Huey Long. Great Read

message 2: by Luan (new)

Luan | 16 comments This sounds absolutely fascinating. I will definitely look for this book after I finish my current one.

message 3: by Luan (new)

Luan | 16 comments Ok, so I've finished. I, too, thought this book was great. The author did a great job of "fleshing out" historical happenings. I learned a lot about New Orleans of that period, and it read rather like a novel than a history.

My only guess about the mixed reviews may be the construct the author used of telling part of a story and then later going back to it, with somewhat unrelated parts in between, or totally unrelated.

I was unfamiliar with Robert Charles' story, and Storyville too.

message 4: by Scott (last edited May 03, 2015 09:23AM) (new)

Scott | 26 comments Two other books that flank this one perfectly in time periods are:
The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era
Huey Long Invades New Orleans: The Siege of a City, 1934-36

The Huey Long book is as much about "The Old Regulars" or "the Ring" and how they controlled all voting activity in the city, as it is about Huey Long. Martin Berhman who is Mayor through most of the Empire of Sin gave way to mayor Walmsley and the old regulars went to war with Huey Long over the voters registration books. Almost literal war. The old regulars would bully people and actually go into voting booths with people and they also doctored the voters registration books with voting dead people. So Huey had the National Guard come in before one of the elections and take over the voters registrars office and the books. This building is right next door to Gallier Hall which was then city hall. The mayors office was in Gallier Hall and the Guard set up a machine gun in the window trained on the mayors office the entire time of the occupation. In this link the Registrars office is the red building on the left as you face Gallier Hall. It is now the Bar Association Offices.

I will be reviewing The Great New Orleans Kidnapping when I finish it. Obviously these two books are about smaller time periods but in setting up the atmosphere of the city you get a picture of what things were like during Reconstruction and then after Empire of Sin in the era of Huey Long.

I have some comments on Robert Charles when my fingers recuperate lol.

message 5: by Theodis (new)

Theodis | 15 comments Mod
I'll start on Empire of Sin next. Seems everyone has enjoyed it.

message 6: by Scott (last edited May 03, 2015 08:03PM) (new)

Scott | 26 comments you will probably like it. I wanted to ask you about Carnival of Fury. I had seen it on Amazon and thought I would like to read it like 2 days before you started this group; I was very pleased to find someone who had read it to give me their thoughts.

message 7: by Theodis (new)

Theodis | 15 comments Mod
Scott wrote: "you will probably like it. I wanted to ask you about Carnival of Fury. I had seen it on Amazon and thought I would like to read it like 2 days before you started this group; I was very pleased to..."

It was awesome. I rad it twice. Once for class eons ago and a second time not too long ago for leisure. It's one of those great tells that was truly awe-inspiring for me because the neighborhood it occurred is the neighborhood my father was raised as a young boy.

message 8: by Scott (new)

Scott | 26 comments This book is on my short list. I grew up in uptown myself and moved back there as an adult. I have lived more than half my life (in various houses) within a couple of miles from there. One of the things I liked about Empire of Sin is that he pinpoints the exact locations of everything he mentions. I took a ride to those locations after reading it.

When you read about the original incident that started everything, you could be reading about any of the incidents that happen almost daily now of the exact same sort and forget that you are reading about something that happened 115 years ago.

message 9: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Marks | 3 comments Just picked this one up...

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