"The Naughty Madame" Top 5 Page for this destination New Orleans by jadedmuse

New Orleans Travel Guide: 4,333 reviews and 7,733 photos

********** ********* *********

Personal commentary on the Katrina tragedy the day after it happened - see my Farewell to the Madame travelogue

********** ********* *********

Is She Really That Easy?

Many people who visit New Orleans never really get New Orleans. Sure, they'll spend a long weekend there reveling in its seamy underbelly, repulsed by and yet attracted to, any number of tacky sex shows or raucous bars dispensing alcohol 24 hours a day; they'll laugh at the strange mannerisms of the locals or the bawdy behavior of a fellow tourist and wonder how is it that anyone could actually LIVE in such a backward yet fun town; maybe they'll take a ride on a streetcar and question whether people other than tourists actually ride those things (they do) - they might even go on a plantation tour if they're feeling especially ambitious and can get up early enough without suffering the after-effects of a bad hangover.

But most of these many will eventually return to their respective hometowns, glad to be back to a familiar place after partying their arses off in a dirty, smelly, tourist-infested city in the Deep South.

I'm not one to argue the above, nor will I wax elegiac about how great New Orleans "used to be"; I won't talk about all its cutesie nicknames or how awful the streets smell in the French Quarter; I definitely won't gush about the latest celebrity restaurant, and I won't carry on about how it can be a dangerous place or how it's such "The Big Easy".

That's because I don't think there's anything easy about New Orleans at all. On the contrary - she's quite secretive, and it takes some real poking and prodding to get past the surface to appreciate her more nuanced charms. The fact is, I find the character of New Orleans to be like that of a retired Madame - the town itself is her brothel...many of the tourists passing through her are like eager johns, in and out for a quick weekend fling with debauchery.

And it's true - no town serves up the wicked and wild like New Orleans does...offering a smorgasbord of alcohol and iniquity that is unrivaled in the United States. After all, this famous city's personal axiom is "laissez les bon temps roullez" ("let the good times roll") - and you pretty much can't escape doing just that when you're there.

So What's the Attraction?

So then...what is it that's so attractive about this Madame called New Orleans? Ironically, she's been prostituted from the very beginning - passed back and forth between the Spanish and the French, then sold to the United States in one of Napolean's biggest negotiating faux paus and geopolitical blunders (aka The Louisiana Purchase). Is it any wonder the Madame winks at the passing tourist like a wearied woman who's seen it all?

You may speculate...is she still naughty, shamelessly promoting outrageous behavior and tolerating all manner of depravity like we've always imagined her to be? You bet she is. She may seem retired, but she's still a Madame who runs a tight business. A bit more commercialized than we'd like to think of her...but her secrets can be revealed if you cajole her, flatter her, and you're sincere in your desire to learn more about her lifestyle. It's different - unique even...flavored with decadence and history and betrayal and intrigue and all of the elements that create a spicy gumbo of mystery and romance in a town where funerals can turn into impromptu street jazz celebrations.

To Know Her is to Love Her

The Madame is not easy to get to know. Many people drift through her in an alcoholic haze, catering to their ids and indulging themselves with hedonistic abandon. (I suppose that's one way I could describe my college years there). But the Madame is rich, savory - and full of all the delightful surprises and eccentricities one would expect from someone of her historical and arguably off-color stature.

I love the Madame. I was lucky enough to make her intimate acquaintance during the four years I lived there. I made it a personal mission to get to know her, and I always make it a point to stay in touch with her.

Like any savvy Madame, she may take your money - but she'll show you a good time in return for it.

It's just up to you to find the real value.

  • Last visit to New Orleans: Aug 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (84)

Comments (58)

  • kokoryko's Profile Photo
    Mar 25, 2010 at 2:50 PM

    Crabmeat Sardou, Creole bouillabaisse. . . music, old French?remains?. . . I?ll try and see that very soon; I liked your full of humour and well written page, about a city I have so many pre conceived ideas about, Michele. Very nice page.

  • klj&a's Profile Photo
    Mar 29, 2009 at 10:11 PM

    Great and useful information. You're a wealth of knowledge.

  • rcsparty's Profile Photo
    Mar 23, 2009 at 5:31 AM

    As a frequent visitor to New Orleans, appreciate the great page...Happy birthday.

  • RedEaredPanda's Profile Photo
    Feb 24, 2009 at 9:24 PM

    can't wait to get to New Orleans and do it all.. thank for all the excellent info, now I know about creole vs. cajun... thanks again.

  • TravellerMel's Profile Photo
    Aug 2, 2008 at 10:38 AM

    Ahh - the good old days when the Absinthe House was a great, dark bar. It's now a neon daiquiri bar - makes me want to cry!

  • leo.weeks's Profile Photo
    Apr 10, 2008 at 11:56 AM

    Mr Gabriel passed away in05 but the show goes on. Grew up in New Orleans still go to Pat O's every weekend in the city. Won't sell you the Magnum on the weekend/ if you don't have 6 sober people in your party,tried for it 7 times in the last 18 months.

  • jadedmuse's Profile Photo
    Jul 26, 2007 at 6:32 AM

    UptownNO: We know Pimms comes from UK. I didn't say the Pimms Cup was invented at Napolean House, I raved about how great it is there (one of their signature drinks, served famously with love by their staff). M

  • Jul 25, 2007 at 8:20 PM

    Although Napoleon House is famous for serving up some tasty Pimm's Cups, the cocktail was definitely not invented there. It's a British drink and is associated with Wimbledon just as Mint Juleps are associated with the Kentucky Derby.

  • Apr 27, 2007 at 1:55 AM

    nah! havnt worked hard on my india's page though its a destination for work in my list! california is my no.1.how have u been? me tired of catching up with the last week's events! just relaxing today! (thurs &fri is the saudi weekend ) salam from Arabia

  • Mar 15, 2007 at 11:05 AM

    thanks. when i say "i'll pass by later." people wonder.when someone asks for a Go cup, has to be from nola. if ask for a drink late, you may get: i'll give it to you in a Go cup.Do u know typical response s to "whe' y'at?" thanks.

jadedmuse Used To Live Here!


“To see the world in a grain of sand & heaven in a flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand & eternity in an hour”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 2 6 9
Forum Rank:
0 1 2 7 7

Badges & Stats in New Orleans

  • 84 Reviews
  • 80 Photos
  • 7 Forum posts
  • 40,930PageViews

Have you been to New Orleans?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in New Orleans