Wednesday February 24th 2016
The US Embassy London American Studies Lecture
Professor Russ Castronovo
|“Untitled,” E.J. Bellocq – scan made from “Storyville Portraits”|
[The models] were very pretty, and that’s something that I never ran across in my life, was a pretty whore. I mean, that I knew of. Maybe I’ve seen some on streetcars, and, you know, busses, and they may have been. I wouldn’t know that. But I mean in any of those places, I’ve never seen anything that resembled beauty.This is telling; there were essentially two Storyvilles – one "black," another "white." Given that Bellocq was a white Creole, and by looking at his models' appearances, we can assume he worked in “white” Storyville. Facilities for black customers were different and amounted to cheap "cribs:" narrow rooms with a bed and little else. Women who worked in cribs were older, less conventionally attractive - often dark skinned black women or women of color - and otherwise less marketable.