A colorful account of a nineteenth-century Big Easy icon—entrepreneur, pioneer, caretaker, philanthropist, and owner of the most dangerous brothel in the city.
At a time when women were denied opportunity, the lavish parlors of Storyville offered advancement for women who welcomed the vice. Mary Deubler, the Storyville madam who called herself Josie Arlington, more than welcomed carnal enterprise. A turbulent childhood forced her into a life of prostitution at an early age, but fueled by ambition, she opened a brothel that soon developed a dangerous reputation in a city famous for competitive iniquity. Devastating circumstances spun her into a new path lined with luxury. Her palace, the brothel she named the Arlington, cemented her legacy. An establishment filled with exotic girls, who added a rare air of refinement to its proffered debauchery, it allowed Josie to become something even rarer for her time: a self-made woman of vast wealth and influence. Author Marita Woywod Crandle charts Josie’s rise while painting a vivid picture of New Orleans’s red-light district.