Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

The Gangs of New Orleans
Herbert Asbury


Home to the notorious ‘Blue Book’, which listed the names and addresses of every prostitute living in the city, New Orleans’s infamous red-light district gained a reputation as one of the most raucous in the world. But the New Orleans underworld consisted of much more than the local bordellos. It was also well known as the early gambling capital of the United States, and sported one of the most violent records of street crime in the country. In The Gangs of New Orleans, Herbert Asbury, author of The Gangs of New York, chronicles the immense underbelly of ‘The Big Easy’. From the murderous exploits of Mary Jane ‘Bricktop’ Jackson and Bridget Fury, two prostitutes who became famous after murdering a number of their associates, to the faux-revolutionary ‘filibusters’ who, backed by hundreds of thousands of dollars of public support – though without official governmental approval – undertook military missions to take over the bordering Spanish regions in Texas, the French Quarter had it all. Once again, Asbury takes the reader on an intriguing journey through a unique history of the American underworld.

Published originally under the title The French Quarter: An Informal History of the New Orleans Underworld.

Paperback, 496pp
Cornerstone, 2004 (1936)
ISBN 9780099455080