The Last Madam: A Life In The New Orleans Underworld

The Last Madam: A Life In The New Orleans Underworld

by Christine Wiltz


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The Last Madam: A Life In The New Orleans Underworld by Christine Wiltz

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780306810121
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Publication date: 01/28/2000
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 162,272
Product dimensions: 5.87(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

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.

What People are Saying About This

Douglas Brinkley

Written with poetic elegance and biographical sympathy, The Last Madam is a spellbinding journey back in time you won't want to miss. Douglas Brinkley, author of The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter's Journey Beyond the White House

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Last Madam: A Life in the New Orleans Underworld 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Bookworm1951 More than 1 year ago
Very interesting. I was unaware of Norma Wallace until I picked up this book. Fascinating woman living in a tough world. Making a living and an empire as best she knew how. Book contains some grizzly details along with details about life as a prostitute and madam. Her story is told in great detail using her memoirs as the basis. A good work of non-fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book once before years ago. Such an interesting book. It's well written and easy to read. An inside look at the seedy historical side of new orleans. Good story as well. It's one of my favorites.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very informative
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story was very informative (how brothels were back in the day). How can you not like her..naming names? it takes you through her marriages, her lonesome older years, even a romance w/ a notorious gangster. The best part: It's allll real. If I had 10 lives to live, and a hand in picking those experiences one would be a madam. I liked Norma, she was a Leo like myself very strong-willed, not the subserviant type of the 50's and so on. The woman was about her business, and had fun too. I'd have to say I did not care for how the book ended...but it was what really happened.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very interesting and fast read about Norma Wallace and New Orleans. Makes me want to go to New Orleans and walk by all the addresses of her houses and see what remains.
Guest More than 1 year ago
enough said.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story tells of the life of a New Orleans madam and how her youth shaped her whole life, from leaving a less-than-ideal family to set out on her own to build her own fortune and fame. Always adhering to strict rules to provide the highest class of service to her clients, Norma is on a constant search for true love, often finding that she couldn't give up her work to stay home and be a traditional wife and mother. In the end, Norma gets the guy, until her obsession with beauty and youth becomes more than even she can handle and her world slowly starts to fall apart. The only criticism is that this book is less like a story and more a historical account of her life. Nonetheless, a very interesting read!
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PhDrSeuss More than 1 year ago
wow i didnt even know it would turn out like this. i found it 2 b so interesting that iwen thru it sooner than i expected. i am amazed that the main character was alive when this book was published. guess u can be poplular in more ways than 1 & thats by havin a book written bout their self. Madame i look up 2 u 4 what u have done in all those yrs as a madam.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago