Empire of Sin

Here is Walter Isaacson’s review of Gary Krist’s Empire of Sin.

Storyville’s sporting houses became cribs for jazz. Like most of the creative culture of New Orleans, this new style of music was spawned by the town’s diversity. Flowing together on the street corners were the sounds of marching brass bands, church spirituals, plantation blues, Creole orchestras, returning Spanish-American War cornetists, ragtime pianists, African drummers, Congo Square dancers and opera house singers. Like the pleasures of Storyville, jazz respected no color line. As a local newspaper wrote of a music hall, “Here male and female, black and yellow, and even white, meet on terms of equality and abandon themselves to the extreme limit of obscenity and lasciviousness.”

Rooting out sin may be worthy, but beware the unsavory motives that can lurk in the hearts of moral crusaders.

Empire of Sin hi-res