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Madame Vieux Carré: The French Quarter in the Twentieth Century Hardcover – December 11, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

From dicey red light district to historic tourist destination, the story of the Quarter's transformative century

About the Author

Scott S. Ellis is an independent researcher in Panama City, Florida.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi (December 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604733586
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604733587
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,724,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I always approach films and books that use New Orleans as a setting prepared to be disappointed. The great majority of the time the preparation was not in vain. Scott Ellis's book on a place I lived in for several years and still love is not a disappointment, it is the opposite. Scott has brought together the careful research, flawlessly flowing narrative and love and compassion for this unique space in America that has been missing. To read it is to hear the family stories of past generations for the first time, including the ones no one ever wanted to talk about but all the more interesting for that. Thank you, Mr. Ellis. We are proud to claim you as friend and family.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book gives an interesting history of the French Quarter for both locals and visitors--particularly relating to some of the early preservationists whose names I had heard but didn't know anything about. New Orleans politics as it relates to the Quarter is also covered extensively, which is always interesting. I'm giving it three stars instead of five because the writing is frequently repetitive and there were some minor inaccuracies that should have been easily spotted during proofreading or editing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Madame Vieux Carre is a great book and a rich history of the French Quarter. The author gives wonderful details about a city that never should have been; location, poverty, and politics all work against New Orleans and yet the city thrives. The first part of the book introduces the reader to a Vieux Carre that is almost fully formed into the idea many people have of it today, but gives the history and meaning as to why the people of the Quarter and New Orleans as a whole reacted to events in the way that they did. It informs of a time and of a culture that nurtured Falkner and Tennessee Williams later. It removes some of the mystery behind the Quarter, but reveals that the truth is so much more interesting.

The second part pulls a little bit away from the people and focuses more on the politics; which is why I'm giving this book 4 stars. I was so enthralled with the history and the people that I was disappointed the author shifted gears to the dirty politics that engulf the Quarter because there was nothing new to learn, states that have only one big city always suffers greed and corruption to keep everyone else afloat. For people just visiting New Orleans today the politics do help answer questions one might have about the "way of things", I also never knew anyone would seriously consider putting an expressway and exit ramp right up against the Vieux Carre, score one for local politics.

All in all a good read, but be warned lay-man history buffs, a third of the book is bibliography so you're not getting full a history as you might think.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ellis' style of writing is informative yet entertaining. His story took me down memory lane as I relived my years in the French Quarter as an adolescent in the early 1960's.

When reading his book be prepared to look-up words, rather esoteric words as far as I am concerned, to fully enjoy the book's contents.

Slater
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Format: Hardcover
The rich detail in Scott Ellis' examination of this period of the French Quarter's history makes it easy to transport yourself back to each of the eras discussed. The book is obviously written by someone with a long standing love affair with Madame Vieux Carre and gives the reader a clear insight into why, despite her character flaws, the charming side of the old girl always wins out, and her power as a seductress remains firmly intact.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was born and raised in New Orleans but spent most of my adult life in New York, returning to New Orleans in 1999 to retire.
So the book filled in the gaps of what happened in my before I was born and and while I was absent.
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Format: Hardcover
My week started off badly. Sprinting to the phone, I sprained my right gastrocnemius and found I could no longer stand or walk without assistance. As humbling an experience as it was, I decided to accept it as an opportunity to slow down and spend some time reading. I bought "Madame Vieux Carré: The French Quarter of the Twentieth Century" by Scott S. Ellis as a research book. I'm writing a novel set in the Quarter in 1961 and I thought the book would be a good resource. Well, it certainly was, but it became so much more for me.

While I have always loved the French Quarter of my hometown, New Orleans, I found myself falling more in love with her as I made my way through the pages of this book. Mr. Ellis did thorough research and even accounted personal experiences as an inhabitant of the neighborhood in the 1980s. As I hobbled back and forth on crutches between reading, I contemplated my own aging. I was a denizen of the Vieux Carré when I was ages 20-23 in the early 1990s. It was an impressionable time for me for many reasons and I felt emotionally safe in Madame's world. One does not simply dwell in the French Quarter, one has a relationship with her. You become a character in her ever-changing play.

This book is a scholarly work of history, including endnotes in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style. However, it is endlessly accessible with moments of great humor and eyewitness accounts. A large part of my affection for "Madame Vieux Carré" is my belief it was a labor of love. I do not know Mr. Ellis personally nor professionally, but the author writes with such eloquence and honesty, I make the assumption. Only several years shy of being three centuries old, Madame wears her beauty well. While I live Uptown, I will in the days to come be off of these crutches and once again visit the Vieux Carré. I will traverse her streets with a deeper love for knowing more of her secrets.
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