In this urban biography, J. Mark Souther explores the Crescent City’s architecture, music, food and alcohol, folklore and spiritualism, Mardi Gras festivities, and illicit sex commerce in revealing how New Orleans became a city on parade for visitors and residents alike.
Stagnant between the Civil War and World War II, New Orleans unintentionally preserved its distinctive physical appearance and culture, which contributed to the surge of tourism in the 1950s and 1960s. Selling New Orleans as a destination, however, involved casting African Americans as actors who shaped the culture that made tourism flourish while simultaneously exploiting their contributions. This practice undermined the tolerance and diversity that once defined New Orleans and the city came to lag behind the rest of the country in pursuing racial equity.
Narrated in a lively style and resting on a bedrock of research, New Orleans on Parade traces the ascendancy of tourism in New Orleans through the final decades of the twentieth century and beyond, examining the 1984 World’s Fair, the collapse of Louisiana’s oil industry in the eighties, and the devastating blow dealt by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
J. Mark Souther is an assistant professor of history at Cleveland State University.
Praise for New Orleans on Parade
“[Souther’s] work is unquestionably one of the finest studies of the modern Crescent City, a must for anyone who hopes to understand the history and fate of the South’s fallen metropolis.”—Edward F. Haas, The Historian
“The glittering allure of New Orleans is manifest in Souther’s detailed analysis of the city’s place-making tactics.”—Char Miller, Journal of American History
“This book adds an important chapter to the field of southern history. . . . Souther’s well-crafted and intelligent book carries on, chapter after chapter, with exquisite detail and accomplished analyses.”—Karen C. Krahulik, American Historical Review
“Provides many clues to the mysteries still surrounding Katrina and today’s Crescent City.”—Fred Bateman, Journal of Economic History