Reading Gary Krist’s EMPIRE of SIN: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder and the Battle for Modern New Orleans, feels as if you’re reading a fast narrative novel! But it’s the truth – heavily researched and documented! Pour yourself a finger or two of bourbon, plant yourself in a comfy chair and get ready to read all about New Orleans’ thirty-year war over itself.
New Orleans today is one of Americas more colorful cities. Every time I visit, I feel as if I’ve left the U.S.A. for a foreign country – and I live in Miami.
EMPIRE OF SIN tells the turn of century story, from 1890-1920 – the elite versus the underworld. It’s the time of the birth of jazz, extreme black and white relations, vice, prostitution, serial killers and the Italian mob. New Orleans grows up on corruption, and there’s no problem as long as everyone gets their piece of the pie. Police Chief, Tom Anderson got his cut and made sure saloons, brothels and dance halls kept running outside city limits in an area known as “Storyville.” Wealthy city leaders were fine to turn a blind eye, as long as vice stayed outside their neighborhoods, but then the arrangements started to unravel. This is where the truth gets really good.
Gary Krist has written a well-researched tome. If you have any interest in New Orleans, EMPIRE OF SIN is the book for you. It’s filled with real life characters and “you couldn’t make this stuff up.”