The Last Madam: A Life In The New Orleans Underworld

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Da Capo Press, Mar 13, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 264 pages
4 Reviews
The incredible life of French Quarter legend Norma Wallace--and a portrait of an era in New Orleans history rife with charm and decadence ("Wonderful...admirably recreates a slice of a life otherwise devoured by time"--Michael Lewis, New York Times Book Review)
In 1916, at age fifteen, Norma Wallace arrived in New Orleans. Sexy and shrewd, she quickly went from streetwalker to madam and by 1920 had opened what became a legendary house of prostitution. There she entertained a steady stream of governors, gangsters, and movie stars until she was arrested at last in 1962. Shortly before she died in 1974, she tape-recorded her memories-the scandalous stories of a powerful woman who had the city's politicians in her pocket and whose lovers included the twenty-five-year-old boy next door, whom she married when she was sixty-four. Combining those tapes with original research, Christine Wiltz chronicles not just Norma's rise and fall but also the social history of New Orleans, thick with the vice and corruption that flourished there-and, like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Philistines at the Hedgerow, resurrects a vanished secret world.

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User Review  - amaryann21 - LibraryThing

Norma Wallace was a successful madam well into the 1950's and 60's in New Orleans. This is the true story of her life and it's almost as much about New Orleans as it is about Norma. She found a way to ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - sj1335 - LibraryThing

love to read anything regarding The Big Easy. I've had a fascination with it for many years. The history is rich with legendary characters and Norma was one of them. This book is very well written and ... Read full review

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About the author (2001)

Christine Wiltz, a native of New Orleans, is the author of five novels, including The Killing Circle, A Diamond Before You Die, and The Emerald Lizard, all set in New Orleans and featuring Irish Channel detective Neal Rafferty. Wiltz's novel The Glass House was praised by the New York Times as "unflinchingly honest" and a book that "needs to be read on both sides of Convent Street." She has written for the New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications. She's been a writer in residence and adjunct professor at both Tulane and Loyola Universities. Wiltz lives in New Orleans.