The Sporting Guide explained: "This volume is published for the benefit of the 'upper Four Hundred' who desire to visit the Tenderloin District with safety and obtain the desired pleasure accruing from beauty and pleasure, which can be accomplished by following this guide."
But the most famous of the guides was The Blue Book, which was published regularly until 1915. In The Blue Book appeared advertisements for Tom Anderson's Annex, Cafe and Restaurant ("never closed, noted the states over for being the best conducted cafe in America, private dining rooms for the fair sex, all the latest musical selections nightly, rendered by a typical Southern darkie orchestra"), cigars, glassware and crockery, an attorney, a drugstore, a taxi company ("If you want to learn all the live places, while making the rounds, call up . . ."), beers and sparkling waters, Turkish baths, candies, an electric piano, the "king of piano tuners", all kinds of whisky, gin, wines, and a laundry.
The opening pages of several editions of The Blue Book set the tone of what it called the "Queer Zone":
"Honi Soit Qui Mai y Feme"
This Directory and Guide of the Sporting District has been before the people on many occasions, and has proven its authority as to what is doing in the "Queer Zone." Anyone who knows today from yesterday will say that the Blue Book is the right book for the right people.
WHY NEW ORLEANS SHOULD HAVE THIS DIRECTORY
Because it is the only district of its kind in the States set aside for the fast women by law. Because it puts the stranger on a proper and safe path as to where he may go and be free from "Hold-ups," and other games usually practiced upon the stranger.
It regulates the women so that they may live in one district to themselves instead of being scattered over the city and filling our thoroughfares with street walkers.
It also gives the names of women entertainers employed in the Dance Halls and Cabarets in the District.
There is a certain wry humor about the quotation from the escutcheon of the British Royal Family, "Evil be to him who evil thinks." But the third page, opposite the advertisement for Tom Anderson's Annex, gets right down to "Facts"!
THIS BOOK MUST NOT BE MAILED
To know the right from the wrong, to be sure of yourself, go through this little book and read it carefully, and then when you visit Storyville you will know the best places to spend your money and time, as all the BEST houses are advertised. Read all the "ads."
This book contains nothing but Facts, and is of the greatest value to strangers when in this part of the city. The names of the residents will be found in this Directory, alphabetically arranged, under the headings "White" and "Colored," from alpha to omega. The names in capitals are landladies only.
You will find the boundary of the Tenderloin District, or Storyville: North side Iberville Street to south side St. Louis, and east side North Basin to west side North Robertson Street.
This is the boundary in which the women are compelled to live, according to law.
Thereafter the promises of the third page are fulfilled. First there is an alphabetical list of white prostitutes; then two pages of "Forty-five Late Arrivals"; then a page devoted to octoroons (only nine of these), with the two great landladies of the jazz era, Countess Willie Piazza and Miss Lulu White, in capitals; then an alphabetical list of two hundred and thirty-four colored prostitutes; finally a list of nine cabarets, with their dames de joie.
The dead seriousness of the neatly molded simple declarative sentences of The Blue Book makes quotation an almost irresistible temptation. Several examples, however, suffice to give the flavor of the advertisements for Storyville's landladies, the madams whose maternal interest in jazz surrounded its early musicians with a comfortable and sympathetic atmosphere and audience. Miss Lulu White's independently issued four-page "souvenir" booklet, published for her "multitudes of friends," and Countess Willie Piazza's ad in the sixth edition of The Blue Book are especially important for jazz.
Lulu White, who ran the Mahogany Hall, a four-story house with tower and weathervane, found immortality in Louis Armstrong's "Mahogany Hall Stomp." She offered details of the hall's construction:
THE NEW Mahogany Hall, A picture of which appears on the cover of this souvenir was erected specially for Miss Lulu White at a cost of $40,000. The house is built of marble and is four story; containing five parlors, all handsomely furnished, and fifteen bedrooms. Each room has a bath with hot and cold water and extension closets. The elevator, which was built for two, is of the latest style. The entire house is steam heated and is the handsomest house of its kind.
It is the only one where you can get three shots for your money:
The shot upstairs,
The shot downstairs,
And the shot in the room.
She also included her autobiography:
This famous West Indian octoroon first saw the light of day thirty-one years ago. Arriving in this country at a rather tender age, and having been fortunately gifted with a good education it did not take long for her to find out what the other sex were in search of.
In describing Miss Lulu, as she is most familiarly called, it would not be amiss to say that besides possessing an elegant form she has beautiful black hair and blue eyes, which have justly gained for her the title of the "Queen of the Demi-Monde."
Her establishment, which is situated in the central part of the city, is unquestionably the most elaborately furnished house in the city of New Orleans, and without a doubt one of the most elegant places in this or any other country.
She has made a feature of boarding none but the fairest of girls, those gifted with nature's best charms, and would, under no circumstances, have any but that class in her house.
As an entertainer Miss Lulu stands foremost, having made a life-long study of music and literature. She is well read and one that can interest anybody and make a visit to her place a continued round of pleasure.
She said that, "in presenting this souvenir" to her "friends," it was her "earnest desire" to "avoid any and all egotism," and added, "While deeming it unnecessary to give the history of my boarders from their birth, which would no doubt, prove reading of the highest grade, I trust that what I have mentioned will not be misconstrued, and will be read in the same light as it was written." Finally she mentioned the fact that all her boarders "are born and bred Louisiana girls," and signed her words: "Yours very socially, LULU WHITE."
Countess Willie offered entertainment.
Is one place in the Tenderloin District you can't very well afford to miss. The Countess Piazza has made it a study to try and make everyone jovial who visits her house. If you have the "blues," the Countess and her girls can cure them. She has, without doubt, the most handsome and intelligent octoroons in the United States. You should see them; they are all entertainers.
If there is anything new in the singing and dancing line that you would like to see while in Storyville, Piazza's is the place to visit, especially when one is out hopping with friends, the women in particular.
The Countess wishes it to be known that while her mansion is peerless in every respect, she only serves the "amber fluid." "Just ask for Willie Piazza."
PHONE 4832 MAIN
317 N. Basin
Visitors to the city, coming into the Southern Railroad Station on Canal Street, saw as much of Storyville as those who arrive in New York by way of One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Street see of uptown Manhattan. The view, just before arriving at the station, was of honky-tonks and cribs and palaces. Not far from the station one could visit the main saloon, the Arlington Annex, of the unofficial mayor of Storyville, Tom Anderson, who made this barroom, adjoining his Arlington Palace, his city hall. Anderson was the boss of the district, a member of the state legislature, the owner of a chain of saloons, and the head of an oil company. He was also the main instigator of that group of worthy Storyville citizens who pooled their resources and produced the official directory and guidebook of Storyville, The Blue Book, which could be bought for twenty-five cents at the Arlington Annex after 1895.