Release Party – Beloved Unmasked by Brita Addams – Storyville Photos

October 16, 2015

Welcome back! I knew you wouldn’t want to miss this post.

A gentleman by the name of John Ernest Bellocq, known during his lifetime as E.J., was a photographer for shipping lines in New Orleans before he took an interest in photographing the many sights in the famed red light district known as Storyville. You can read more about Bellocq on October 2img0020th, as part of my week of Storyville posts on my blog, but here, I’d like to share some photographs taken by Bellocq between 1897 and 1917, the year Storyville closed.

A great many of his subjects posed nude, but I haven’t included any of them. With so little known about Bellocq, we know even less about the women and men he photographed. After Bellocq died in 1949, New Orleans folklore says his brother, a Catholic priest, destroyed or damaged a great many of Bellocq’s glass negatives. One representation of the damage is below in the photo of the woman on the chaise. Leo Bellocq scratched out the faces of many of the women and /or smashed the negative. His motives might seem obvious, but they will forever remain with him, as he never divulged whether he had indeed attempted to destroy is brother’s work.

Do you see something in the faces of his subjects? Remember, though, they had to remain still for several minutes during the picture taking, so what you might see is, “Hurry up and take the damn picture.”


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On the left is a picture of a nurse at the hospital where the Storyville prostitutes were sent when they contracted a venereal disease, commonly called “the gleet”  which ran rampant through the nineteen square blocks of Storyville. It claimed many a life, despite prevention methods.

The other two are unnamed women. The middle photo appears on the cover of Al Rose’s book, Storyville New Orleans.

From Al Rose’s Storyville New Orleans:

a270d92d8669b0f8eb175f237fd2a490The most popular hard liquor in Storyville was Raleigh Rye. Striped stockings were expensive and could be afforded only by the high-priced bawds of Basin Street. Opera length, the hose were sold by traveling salesmen who, with a tricky demonstration, made them seem run-proof. They cost six dollars a pair and lasted one or two washings.

Also from Al Rose’s book re: picture on the right:

A prime attraction at Minnie White’s place at 221 North Basin Street was Marguerite Griffin, who 12cf4a3d037f9fe9f60f32f8ce01c3f2could not only handle the conventional duties of a storyville tart, but also knew the lyrics of countless bawdy ballads. Note on the wall hangings: The pillow above her head reads, “Daisies won’t tell.” The risque signs read, left to right, “Oh! Babe, please come,” “Oh! Dearie, I give U much pleasure” (affixed to a Mardi Gras pennant dated 1910,) and “Dearie, U ask for Marguerite.”

For more photos and more on E.J. Bellocq, visit my blog on October 20. There I’ll have some photos that inspired scenes in the book as well as many others.


Giveaway: Stop by my blog between October 16 and 23 for a series of posts on Storyville. Leave a substantive comment about the post or the book (not “I’m in” or the like,) and on November 1, I’ll select the winner of a New Orleans-themed gift pack. Beloved Unmasked isn’t included in the giveaway.


Here’s some of the pre-release buzz about Beloved Unmasked:

Beloved Unmasked is a beautifully written historical romance. You can feel the streets of New Orleans, see the sights, and hear the sounds. (Cathy Brockman – MM Good Book Reviews)

When you want a historical you can really sink into and feel like you are there, this is the book to pick up. Really amazingly well done. A Recommended Read (Tina Brunelle – Redz World)

Beloved Unmasked has a whole lot packed into the pages. Brita Addams has certainly done her research about New Orleans. (Kazza – On the Top Down Under Reviews)

I was delighted that I was asked to review Beloved before release. I really enjoyed the story. Brita is the only historical author who can suck me in early enough that I’ll read the entire book. :) (4 Stars – Brenda Cothern)

Absolutely amazing. (Lorraine Lesar -


Dreamspinner has Beloved Unmasked on sale until October 18, at 25% off. Buy now to get the great discount.

Beloved UnmaskedBeloved Unmasked

Cherished One: Book One
A Tarnished novel


Born to a spiteful prostitute in Storyville, the red-light district in New Orleans, David comes into the world as Picayune, meaning “of little value,” or, as his mother reminds him, “nothing.” In the early 20th century brothels and clubs, his love of music sustains young Pic until a life-changing meeting places him on the road to respectability, and Pic reinvents himself as David Reid.

As David realizes happiness for the first time, conscription forces his friend and first love, Spencer Webb, into the Great War. While he pursues a law degree, letters from Spence connect David to his hopes for the future. After staggering news at war’s end, David must find a way to move forward. Under the tutelage of his benefactor, David’s career prospers, but specters from Storyville threaten all he’s worked so hard to achieve.

The past holds both pain and love. Will facing it head-on destroy David or give him everything he’s ever dared dream?


Next hour – An excerpt from Beloved Unmasked.

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