Friday, July 25, 2014

Would an Orderly Brothel Been Okay?

Let's have some order here!
Just a short news item from the July 25, 1856 New Orleans Daily Crescent.
Catherine Webber was fined $15 for keeping a disorderly brothel; two of her boarders were fined $5 each, and four others sent to the Work-house.
I did a quick bit of searching and wasn't able to find anything about Ms. Webber. Typically I like to fill out the historical record a bit more, but then there was that term, "disorderly brothel." Disorderly houses were places of prostitution, drug use, or such. By definition, a brothel is already "disorderly."

There was a Catherine Webber living in New Orleans in 1850, the wife of one J. G. Webber. The couple was from Germany and lived with their children and two women (presumably Mrs. Webber's sisters). The 1860 census doesn't show a Webber family living in New Orleans.

Could J.G. Webber, the 29-year-old German merchant of the 1850 census been dead by 1856 and his wife become a brothel-keeper in order to raise funds? Who were the "boarders"? Since they were fined, they clearly weren't so much boarders as prostitutes.

Then there were the four sent to the work house. I really wan to know how the judge made the distinction. Perhaps the other four weren't the actual prostitutes, but those who were helping run the establishment.
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