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New Orleans artist Sam Skrimpz, a queer, non-binary painter and muralist born and bred in Louisiana, designed and crafted a billboard, which has already been posted in New Orleans. The #mural features LuLu White, whose legendary career ended when she fought efforts to racially segregate brothels.

LuLu White, whose legendary career ended when she fought efforts to racially segregate brothels. Synamin Vixen, an internationally acclaimed performer, producer, and arts educator, portrays Lulu White in this short film, which includes a spoken word piece by John Lacarbiere.

The building that is behind Synamin in the video (Basin Seafood & Grill) used to be the annex for Mahogany Hall, the Octoroon Lulu White was the madam of. It is one of only three buildings that remain from the Storyville era in New Orleans. The other buildings were turned into the Iberville public housing complex in the 1940s.

After Hurricane Katrina, Ray Nagin, the mayor of New Orleans closed the Iberville project despite the buildings not having damage that warranted this. In 2009, the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) proposed to redevelop the Iberville Project into mixed-income housing, which was really just a disturbing way for politicians in New Orleans to demolish 5,000 units of public housing following a devastating natural disaster.

Danyell Davis
deardanyell@gmail.com
(251) 504-6272

New Orleans Sex Workers Take Back Their History, Hoping to Hold On to Their City

The oldest profession is an integral and celebrated part of New Orleans’ history. But sex workers today are fighting hard to survive in a city actively trying to erase them. The #OldProProject is part of a national effort to remind the people of New Orleans that sex workers are, and have always been, an important part of our communities.

Sex worker advocates and artists in New Orleans, LA partnered with Women With a Vision to create an educational pamphlet and a video and billboard campaign to highlight the sex workers who shaped the city of jazz. The pamphlet is meant to help educate the public about legislation that would repeal prostitution related offenses from the Louisiana criminal code. Even drafting this legislation is a historic achievement. The artwork will feature LuLu White, whose legendary career ended when she fought efforts to racially segregate brothels. Danyell, project organizer, hopes this project will convince their neighbors, “Not to erase us, or our history, from this city.”

Local artist Sam Skrimpz, a queer, non-binary painter and muralist born and bred in Louisiana, designed and crafted the billboard, which has already been posted in New Orleans. Synamin Vixen, an internationally acclaimed performer, producer, and arts educator, will be portraying Lulu White in the tribute video, which will also include a spoken word piece by John Lacarbiere.

On January 25, 2021, this video will be part of a livestream event put on by Old Pro Productions as part of the #OldProProject, so people from across the world can tune in at oldproproject.com.

 


 

#OldProProject
oldproproject.com
Contact; Irene Merrow, Community Manager & Publicist 
contact@theoldestprofessionpodcast.com
(207) 400-07869 (cell)

THIS HISTORY IS FOR EVERYONE

The Oldest Profession Podcast, in partnership with Sex Work RightsSWOP Behind Bars, and the Sex Work Project at the Urban Justice Center is funding an art build in five cities across the country to celebrate the anniversary of the first sex worker led protest in the United States. The #OldProProject is a nationwide community collaboration that brings the lives of historical sex workers to life through a variety of art mediums, from music videos and murals, to posters and zines.

The #OldProProject provides resources to sex worker artists and advocates to celebrate our shared history. #OldProProject is working with City Coordinators connected to active decriminalization efforts in five cities. Those City Coordinators, in collaboration with their community, proposed art projects to capture and celebrate their local old pro history. This year we are working with communities in New York, NYNew Orleans, LAPortland, ORSeattle, WA and San Francisco, CA.

On January 25th, 1917, 300 sex workers in San Francisco led a protest to fight the imminent closure of their brothels, where they lived and worked. Their basic demands were ignored but their story continues to inspire living sex worker rights advocates.The #OldProProject seeks to celebrate this historic moment, which you can learn more about on The Oldest Profession Podcast episode, Why January 25th Matters.

“It’s important to remember that we’re part of a multi generational struggle, and that sex workers have been resisting their criminalization since the beginning,” explains Savannah Sly, National Coordinator of the #OldProProject.



Dr. Charlene Fletcher PhD, historian for the #OldProProject says, “This history is for everyone. These stories belong to all of us and they should be celebrated.”

All of the projects being undertaken in cities across the US can be viewed on the #OldProProject website. The national team, as well as local artists and advocates working with the project can be reached through our publicist, Irene Merrow.

#OldProProject New Orleans Team

DANYELL – CITY COORDINATOR FOR NEW ORLEANS

DANYELL – CITY COORDINATOR FOR NEW ORLEANS

Dr. Charlene J. Fletcher - Historian

Dr. Charlene J. Fletcher - Historian

SYNAMIN VIXEN – VIDEO ARTIST

SYNAMIN VIXEN – VIDEO ARTIST

Irene Merrow - Community Manager & Publicist

Irene Merrow - Community Manager & Publicist

SAM SKRIMPZ – MURAL ARTIST

SAM SKRIMPZ – MURAL ARTIST

Savannah Sly - National Coordinator

Savannah Sly - National Coordinator

DANYELL – CITY COORDINATOR FOR NEW ORLEANS

DANYELL – CITY COORDINATOR FOR NEW ORLEANS

SYNAMIN VIXEN – VIDEO ARTIST

SYNAMIN VIXEN – VIDEO ARTIST

SAM SKRIMPZ – MURAL ARTIST

SAM SKRIMPZ – MURAL ARTIST

Dr. Charlene J. Fletcher - Historian

Dr. Charlene J. Fletcher - Historian

Irene Merrow - Community Manager & Publicist

Irene Merrow - Community Manager & Publicist

Savannah Sly - National Coordinator

Savannah Sly - National Coordinator

Lulu White | New Orleans Old Pro

Lulu White was the most famed madam in the Storyville district of New Orleans known as the “Diamond Queen” for her love of extravagant jewelry. Much of her early life remains a mystery, but she was born in Selma, Alabama in 1868, and over the course of her life named Cuba, Alabama, and Jamaica as birthplaces.

Lulu first appears in New Orleans city directories in 1888 and began her career as a sex worker creating pornographic images and prostitution. In 1897, she established her famed brothel, Mahogany Hall, located in the city’s Storyville district, where brothels were welcomed. Mahogany Hall was known for its lavish accommodations and expensive rates.

Visit the post page for this episode of The Oldest Profession Podcast »

Lulu White was the most famed madam in the Storyville district of New Orleans known as the “Diamond Queen” for her love of extravagant jewelry. Much of her early life remains a mystery, but she was born in Selma, Alabama in 1868, and over the course of her life named Cuba, Alabama, and Jamaica as birthplaces. She first appears in New Orleans city directories in 1888 and began her career as a sex worker creating pornographic images and prostitution. In 1897, she established her famed brothel, Mahogany Hall, located in the city’s Storyville district, where brothels were welcomed. Mahogany Hall was known for its lavish accommodations and expensive rates.

White amassed a lengthy rap sheet during her career for running a bawdy house, bootlegging, and attempted murder, but she only served time in jail in 1918 for violating the Draft Act, which banned prostitution within ten miles of a military base. She was sentenced to a year and a day, but President Woodrow Wilson commuted her sentence after three months. Upon her release, she returned to sex work and running her brothels until her death in 1931.

Citation: Landau, Emily, “Lulu White,” 64 Parishes, accessed October 18, 2020. Link to the source.

Lulu White. New Orleans Police Department. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Landau, Emily E. Spectacular Wickedness: New Orleans, Prostitution, and the Politics of Sex, 1897 –1917. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2013.

Landau’s social history of Storyville uses patriarchy as an analytical lens to examine prostitution and gendered racial ideologies shaped sex and the South after the Civil War.

Long, Alecia P. The Great Southern Babylon: Sex, Race, and Respectability in New Orleans, 1865 –1920. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2004.

Alecia Long’s work explores sex work in New Orleans after the Civil War to the Progressive Era, dispels romanticized myths of Storyville to draw connections between “geographical segregation of prostitution” and racial segregation.

Arceneaux, Pamela D. Guidebooks to Sin: The Blue Books of Storyville, New Orleans. New Orleans: The Historic New Orleans Collection, 2017.

Several studies of Storyville have been published, yet Arceneaux’s work is the first centered on the area’s blue books – directories of the local prostitutes, saloons, and VD cures – created by the sex workers themselves. Arcenaeaux offers insight into race, gender, and the economics of the sex industry in New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century.

Landau, Emily, “Lulu White,” 64 Parishes, accessed October 18, 2020. Link to the source.

A brief biographical entry on Lulu White authored by historian Emily Landau

“Madams – Lulu White” Storyville New Orleans: Serving All the News That’s Fit to Print, accessed October 18, 2020. Link to the source.

A brief biographical entry on Lulu White and the Storyville district which contains additional images.

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