Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans by Gary Krist
From bestselling author Gary Krist, a vibrant and immersive account of New Orleans’ other civil war, at a time when commercialized vice, jazz culture, and endemic crime defined the battlegrounds of the Crescent City Empire of Sin re-creates the remarkable story of New Orleans’ thirty-years war against itself, pitting the city’s elite “better half” against its powerful and long-entrenched underworld of vice, perversity, and crime. This early-20th-century battle centers on one man: Tom Anderson, the undisputed czar of the city's Storyville vice district, who fights desperately to keep his empire intact as it faces onslaughts from all sides. Surrounding him are the stories of flamboyant prostitutes, crusading moral reformers, dissolute jazzmen, ruthless Mafiosi, venal politicians, and one extremely violent serial killer, all battling for primacy in a wild and wicked city unlike any other in the world.
GARY KRIST has written for the New York Times, Esquire, Salon, the Washington Post Book World, and elsewhere. He is the author of the bestselling Empire of Sin, City of Scoundrels, and the acclaimed The White Cascade, as well as several works of fiction. He has been the recipient of the Stephen Crane Award, the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Lowell Thomas Gold Medal for Travel Journalism, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Read an Excerpt
It was, in many respects, the most brutal assault so far: a two-year-old child killed instantly by a single blow to the skull; her critically injured parents rendered senseless by multiple head traumas. Clotted gore soaked the bed where they all lay. Across the walls and curtains around them, blood spatters radiated like birdshot. And yet, despite this evidence of what must have been a savage frenzy of violence, no one in the neighborhood had heard a thing. The perpetrator had been able to escape without a single witness to the crime, and with hours to spare before his deed was detected. The axman was apparently becoming even more adept at his trade with time. (Continues…)
Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans 4.1 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
Mr. Krist lets the history of New Orleans speak. He crafted an excellent narrative of the turn of the last century that paints NOLO in all its brilliant colors. I first read of Storyville in the novel, " Madame", by Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin. While that is also very good. Mr. Krist takes his reader into the real worls of vice, race relations, immigration, mafia murder, ward politics, the vice of Storyville, and of course the birth of the true American Music-JAZZ ! Cannot wait to read more of Mr. Krist's work.
More than 1 year ago
A history of thirty years of attempting to end the growth of vice in the city of New Orleans. Starting in the around 1890 and following the history of the reformists who are attempting to create a haven for new business in their fair city to the beginnings of jazz Krist gives an excellent overview of the period in just one American city. The one thread that runs through the whole book is the case of a serial killer stalking the streets of New Orleans. By looking at the reformers and the individuals on the other side we get a picture of how personalities from both sides involved with each other in day to day lives. The story starts out with the killing of a police chief and the lynching of some of the accused in the conspiracy. So in a way the reformers became criminals at the same time that they were trying to stop criminal activity. So why not set aside apart of the city just for those activities? It appeared to work for a while but soon the reformers answer the call of the national movement for Prohibition decide that all such areas and activities should be banned completely.
Krist gives the reader a look at the personalities that were involved in this thirty years history. One gets the view of the various sides of the struggle. It is an excellent read and well worth the time.
More than 1 year ago
Excellent! Amazing writing!
4 months ago
This book is not a page Turner. It looks to be well researched but lacks a compelling narrative.