The ladies inside the district were busy hustling and bustling and getting ready to show their wares in the parade that afternoon. Bangles beads and bobbles went flying about, excitement and liberation were in the air. They were going to parade around town in an effort to show their attributes and announce their services.
There was cat-calling, hair pulling, items begged, borrowed and stolen. The fighting and bitching, out of hand. Lulu Harlot was looking for her jewels when she accused Tussy Little Tits of stealing them. She back-handed her with a hard slap across the cheek and lips, hitting the nose. ‘Where in the fuck are they‘, she demanded. They ended up on the floor kicking and pulling hair, barely pried apart by those watching, their own anger and frustration seething. Tussy had both sets of false eyelashes ripped off of her lids, makeup and lipstick smeared. She spat at Lulu and called her a damned fucking whore and a bitch. It was supposed to be a good time, not bad.
There were gaggles of women in various stages of dress and undress about the district. Breasts ripe, tethered and un-tethered. And those full or saggy, in need of a bustier to give a sense of youth and fullness.
Pushed up to meet with the eye.
There were hourglass corsets featuring a button-like design which appeared to fasten in the front, but actually laced down the back. Some wore a delicate wrap, transparent, showing form. There was a flurry of cotton gussets, or none at all. There were panties strewn about here and there. They wore panties and crotchless panties pulled tight to allow room for the vulva to protrude, or there were no panties at all. There were corsets which tightened the waist but left the breast free and unencumbered.
A sensual tease for the eye.
Garter straps and stockings,
suspender hose that stopped at the thigh,
Striped and polka dotted,
dark and sheer.
There were knickers and bloomers,
with bows and elastic tightened at the knee.
Or, there was no hosiery at all.
There were G-strings and narrow swaths of fabric or beads pushed between the crotch and cinched up through the buttocks, attached to a string or band about the waist.
There were pearls and necklaces that dangled from the neck or wrapped around the breast, an illusion of glitter and eroticism.
There were Peignoirs trimmed in marabou, shear and satin. Feather boas of rooster, turkey and ostrich, preened and faultless. They were used to accentuate form, to flow free and to lure.
There were high heels and low heels, buttoned and unbuttoned heels. Laced and unlaced.
There were Portuguese embroidered shoes and high-heeled boots, Shoe, heel and boots in one or two tones. There were Victorian heels and patterned shoes. There were slim shoes, fat shoes, stout shoes and satin slippers. There were Painted toe-mules and silk damask with buckle closures.
All were trimmed by boot-makers and cobblers using awls and burnishers that brought the shine or punched the hole.
They were dressed as French maids, Egyptian princesses, exotic Greeks and Gypsies. There was fantasy wear of gauzy cloth and fabric about the waist, wrapped, twisted or tied. Ribbons knotted into bows were tied around the thighs.
Bellies, tits and armpits were showing in flamboyant display. Arms up, arms down and arms flowing. They wore lockets and bows, locks and handcuffs, rings and see-through lace, feathers and quills, bangles and bows. The jewels were there to mock with beck and call.
When the clock struck four in the afternoon, they piled out into the
streets, horse and buggy, carriages were waiting. There were ragtime and Dixie bands. That brass was sudden and powerful all through the district. The heart leapt upwards and the body could not help but to be moved by that rhythm.
The streets were full of people waiting, cheering and screaming. There were whistles and cat-calls, shouts and jeers.
There was an Afro-Creole marching band with an uptown tempo, made you feel downtown. You couldn’t help but get to swaying or jumpin’, arms moving and feet that would not still.
The music and parade got out there on Canal and Basin street, the pulse of the district where Satchmo, Jelly Roll Morton, Kid Ory and a hundred other jazz greats were kings. There was a blending of brass between Creole and African music, they echoed church spirituals, ragtime and blues. All at once.
Step into the cadence, tempo and time.
There, where the turning basin of the Carondolet formerly resided, clamor, commotion and noise. The trains brought the spectators and onlookers in by the hundreds, and perhaps thousands were already there, just down the way and not too far from the cemetery.
This is where one of the most opulent bordellos lived, breathed and died. Right there on Basin Street. There was a saloon next door. Mrs. Tasse’s bordello was around the corner and down the street.
It wasn‘t the most opulent, but it wasn’t cots and dirt, either. The pleasure house not far from the big hall where they played the Basin Street Blues.
The people on the streets were either no-names or the names that would go down in history. There was a hoard which included those destined for print:
Flamin’ Amee, Buxom Bessie, Cryin’ Emmaline, Merry Meatloaf and Fanny Sweet.
Beaverton Beulah, Birdlegs Betty, Big Butted Betsy and Bang Bang Boom Box.
Folks came to catch a glimpse of:
Cross-eyed Lana, Yellow, Little Sissie and Hogsbreath Annie.
You had better be careful around:
Hard Hearted Hattie, Tiny, Bebop Beatrice and Rootin’ Toodles,
if you knew what was good for you.
Many hoped for sex with:
Calm Cora, Big Biggie & Little Biggie, Snaggle-toothed Alaina, Bad, Snaggle Crotch Mary, Stingbee or Froggy.
You could walk into a saloon most evenings and expect to see: Tootsie Tomlin, Dickie Longerboner, Snapbean, Sweetie Pie, Mad Mark, Hot Blooded Gussie, Mike the Pimp, Pussy Boogers, Boo Boo and Big Boo Boo.
Maybe at the bar getting drunk:
Lonesome Lily, Rib-eyed Tessie, Four Fingered Frieda and Stupid Shit.
Oh, that parade with dancin’ and carryin’ on went into the early hours of the morning. Folks was too tired by then for anything other than a little scratch and tickle, show and tell. Tits were flying, cunt was bared, hands were reaching out for a little grab here and there. Breasts were massaged, pulled, lifted. Nipples self-licked. Some sat horseback wearing no pants, they lifted legs and massaged their vulvas. They enjoyed the ride and sway of the horse, wet with lust and desire. The night was hot and musky. Odorous horse pissed streets, alcohol and sweat filled the evening air.
Some of the whores sat in the windows there at the French House and others mimed the fine art of fellatio using their thumbs and fingers. Long strokes to show a deep throat, they licked their lips and swallowed pretend semen. Some stood in the doorways wearing high heeled boots and nothing else at all. Some hid behind the curtains, tried to grab and lure. With some, you could only hear a seductive voice or soft whistle.
In the doorways, negligees and nighties were calling to the men and boys. It was an invitation to visit the cribs, a hotbed of prostitution and licentious behavior.
You could go into the district on any day, on any street, and expect to see the ladies waiting there. The houses varied in size, no two alike. Some were large and grand and right in the middle of the row might be one that was small and obscure. Some were rather bold like the rococo mansion on the corner, and down the next street sat a tiny little house owned by a lady named Rose.
The ladies were to leave broken hearts and empty wallets.
There was a whole lot of drinking and carrying on, the district now open for legitimate business, sure to be the place to see and be seen. Be there or miss out. One could stop by the dining rooms, saloons, and houses, fill the soul in more ways than one.
Come inside and be warmed, take off your clothes and stay awhile.
-end part two