8. Helped Make Jazz Music Popular
Many other industries felt the financial and exposure benefits of brothels. Staying in Storyville for a moment, many white clientele were exposed not only to black women but also to black music—in particular, jazz.
Eventually, even those not using the services of prostitutes or visiting brothels began to take notice of such new music and other entertainment from the black community.
As more cities around America—both officially and unofficially—looked to emulate the “success” of Storyville, the exportation of jazz music to all corners of the United States began to gather pace and eager listeners. There were many famous names to come out of this era, with Louis Armstrongperhaps the most famous of all.
Before making a name for himself onstage around the world, Armstrong first trod the boards in Storyville. As a young man, he even worked by hauling coal to the rooms of the establishment’s performers.
7. It Was A Million-Dollar (Underground) Industry
Brothels were found in every big city. As Americans began to enjoy leisure time by visiting theaters or saloons, brothels unofficially acted as support businesses—often just a stone’s throw away from these more “accepted” pastimes.
Each industry would feed the other, all unofficially with a nod and a wink, of course. The sheer organization of individual brothels and how they networked with each other and interlocked with other areas of business and leisure ensured the highest profits possible.
There was even considerable effort to make the industry more accessible for potential customers. Perhaps one of these was the issuance of The Gentleman’s Handbook—essentially a guide to brothels, how many prostitutes were available, and even where to purchase condoms (which, at the time, were made from sheep’s intestines and were extremely uncomfortable).