7:30 PM WHERE SEX AND SIN WERE THE SPECIALITIES: AN EVENING OF STORYVILLE MEMORIES
Join us for a look inside the scandalous history and culture of the Red Light District that flourished in New Orleans from 1897-1917, that famed neighborhood that fixed the city firmly in the national consciousness as a place of licentious pleasure. One hundred years after its closure, it still illuminates New Orleans’s complex personality. Pamela Arceneaux, senior librarian and rare books curator of The Historic New Orleans Collection introduces us to the rare guides to the district chronicled in her new book, Guidebooks to Sin: The Blue Books of Storyville, New Orleans. She’ll explain how the books served up the flavor of the place – guides to brothels, liquor stores, cures for venereal disease—and what rare and fascinating information she found between the lines. Writer and photographer Sally Asher of Tulane University, accompanied by actors Kerry Cahill and Andrew Ward, brings to life the important year of 1917, the year Storyville closed, after reform movements prevailed against last-ditch efforts to save it. “The purity wave” as is it was called—with tougher enforcement of the laws and an attempt to segregate the district—grew out of protests by women’s organizations and Mayor Behrman’s desire to control the district so it could continue to exist. Nina Bozak of The Historic New Orleans Collection dazzles with period dances—from the Two-Step that was the rage in the 1890s to the Foxtrot, for which the Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded the Livery Stable Blues in 1917 (the first jazz recording ever issued), as well as dances to Spanish-tinged rhythms of the period. Ham Kick and Naked Dance, anyone? Ward emcees, with live period music with band leader Seva Venet. And who knows? We might even see a Baby Doll or two. New Orleans has always had a reputation as a wicked city; Storyville is at the heart of that sense of excess and openness. See why it continues to captivate and intrigue us a century later, even as we learn more about its many facets as these scholars of Storyville celebrate its lively legacy in history, theater, dance and music. Directed by Brook Hanemann.
Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré, 616 St. Peter. Funding provided by the History/A+E Networks. Music and dance sponsored by Paige Royer and Kerry Clayton.
Friday, March 24
Cornelius Coffin Williams (C.C. as his cronies called him) famously referred to his son as “Miss Nancy.” Theirs was an uneasy relationship at best and yet in The Glass Menagerie, Williams idealized the absent father as “the man who fell in love with long distance.” And late in his life, Williams wrote, “The play that I want to write as a final play, some day is the story of my father . . . the angry hedge-hog under a floor lamp whose fading silk-fringe appeared to be weeping for him with more forgiveness and compassion than we were old enough or wise enough to give him.” This new piece captures a son’s struggle to love the un-loveable man who was his father.
Le Petit Theatre, 616 Saint Peter Street, $20. Sponsored by Helen and George Ingram
Le Petit Theatre, 616 Saint Peter Street, $20.
1 PM Loneliness and Desire: Three Scenes by Tennessee (NOCCA Student Production)
Two young strangers meet on a deserted train track. Lovers say goodbye, maybe for the last time. Down on their luck strangers dream of a better life. In three scenes from plays by Tennessee Williams—This Property is Condemned, The Rose Tattoo, and The Lady of Larkspur Lotion—high school students from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) explore the loneliness, frailty, desire and illusions embodied by Tennessee Williams’ rich characters.
Le Petit Theatre, 616 Saint Peter Street, $15 suggested donation to support youth theater outreach throughout the year. This production supported by The New Orleans Theatre Association.
Robert Wagner and his wife Jill St. John both have strong connections to Tennessee Williams: Mr. Wagner co-starred as Brick in an acclaimed 1976 television production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. His illustrious co-stars were Natalie Wood, Laurence Olivier, and Maureen Stapleton. Mrs. Wagner co-starred with Vivien Leigh, Warren Beatty, and Lotte Lenya in the memorable 1961 film of Williams' novel The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. Interviewer and film historian Foster Hirsch will focus on the Wagners' Williams credits before opening up the discussion to a consideration of the long and distinguished careers of both guests. Robert Wagner, with one of the longest sustained careers in Hollywood history, was a major star at Twentieth Century Fox in the 1950s, starring in early CinemaScope spectacles such as Prince Valiant and Beneath the 12-Mile Reef. Other early credits include Titanic, The Mountain, Broken Lance, The True Story of Jesse James, and (unforgettably) as the cold-eyed killer in A Kiss Before Dying. Harper, The Longest Day, The Condemned of Altona, The Pink Panther, Austin Powers, and the beloved and internationally popular TV series Hart to Hart will also be discussed. Jill St. John may be most noted for her appearance as a Bond girl opposite Sean Connery in Diamonds Are Forever, but she has many other major credits including The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker, Holiday for Lovers, The Lost World, Tender Is the Night, Come Blow Your Horn, The Oscar, Banning, and Tony Rome. Also to be discussed are the books that both actors have written. This Hollywood power couple has been married over 26 years.
Le Petit Theatre, $20