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Vol. 19, No. 2: Summer 2013

Bohemians and Shenanigans in the 1920s French Quarter: an excerpt from Dixie Bohemia

by John Shelton Reed

“Another attraction was what their Flo Field remembered years later as a ‘death-defying platform’ built over the roof. Reached through a window, it offered an escape from the stifling heat of a New Orleans attic, and at one party Faulkner unsuccessfully tried to persuade Field to crawl outside—four floors above the street—with him.”

In October 1926 two young men named Bill, an artist and a writer who shared an apartment in the French Quarter of New Orleans, decided to publish a little book. It was to be “a sort of private joke,” the artist said later, just his sketches of some of their friends and themselves, with captions and the writer’s introduction. They’d get it out in time for Christmas, amuse their friends, and maybe make a little money. Sure enough, by mid-December they had the manuscript in hand and paid a local printer to run off 250 copies. The artist signed and hand-tinted fifty or so, mostly for the friends who were included. The rest of the copies sold within a week at $2.00 apiece, so after Christmas the printer ran off another 150 copies, and they sold, too.

This article appears as an abstract above, the complete article can be accessed in Project Muse
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