I had an idea to paint mug shots of Storyville prostitutes. I painted Lulu White and enjoyed painting her. She was arrested many times for all manner of things to do with her brothel. She was the madame of Mahogany Hall.
Storyville was a part of New Orleans, lakeside of Basin Street, between 1897 and 1917 where it was legal to be a prostitute and run a brothel. Prostitution was so legal they had a Blue Book advertising what the different girls offered. Mahogany Hall was an upscale brothel, boasting of Octoroon (1/8th black) prostitutes.
Lulu seemed like a outgoing, self-made, woman. She was born of two slaves in Alabama, but re-invented herself. She told people she was born in the Caribbean. Even though I love portraits and I love to paint women, mugshots are a little bit sad. A child born into slavery is also sad. I am going to paint a prostitute or two from Storyville, because the women are beautiful, but I don’t think my heart can manage more than that. On the other hand, I don’t want these women to be forgotten.
I think she looks sad and annoyed.
Acrylic paint, grease pencil, charcoal, varnish on canvas.
11" x 14"
Shipping cost: $30.00
Nancy Wolfe Kimberly, aka Gator Girl, is lover of all things New Orleans. New Orleans is her muse. Wherever she looks she is struck visually and spiritually by her surroundings. Whether it is a Mardi Gras Indian in his dazzling suit, an alligator sunning herself along the bayou, or a quiet cemetery in the evening, New Orleans speaks to her heart.
When she paints she has two goals, to spread healing energy to the city and to spread the New Orleans attitude of love to the rest of the world.
Nancy Wolfe Kimberly is a New Orleans artist living and working in the Uptown neighborhood.
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