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City of a Million DreamsNew Orleans at Year 300$
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Jason Berry

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469647142

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469647142.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

Sicilians in the Meld

Sicilians in the Meld

(p.184) 10 Sicilians in the Meld
City of a Million Dreams

Jason Berry

University of North Carolina Press

69,937 Italians, mostly from Sicily, arrived in New Orleans between 1898 and 1929. A culture of close families, loyal to the Church and one another, gave birth to a Sicilian ghetto in the Vieux Caré backstreets. Public opinion turned against Sicilians after police chief David C. Hennessy’s assassination in 1890. Joe Macheca and members of the Provenzano and Matranga clans were arrested but acquitted. In retaliation, a mob stormed the prison where the defendants were held and killed 11 people, including Macheca. Prostitution was rampant in late 19th-century New Orleans. In 1897, patrician alderman Sydney Story passed an ordinance that confined prostitution to a 16-square block area in lower Tremé. The “District”, also known as “Storyville”, flourished into a vibrant community where men and women of all classes, races, and ethnicities mingled intimately, casually, and continuously. Black musicians like Jelly Roll Morton and Joe Oliver gained venues in the bordellos. Jazz musicians began to leave New Orleans in the early 20th century, making successful careers for themselves across America. Among these were Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Jazz entered the vocabulary of America, and, despite disdain from some, jazz became popular with the elite.

Keywords:   Jazz, Sicilians, The District, Storyville, Prostitution, Joe Macheca, Jelly Roll Morton, Joe Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Original Dixieland Jazz Band

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