- Emily Landau
a madam in Storyville, the infamous red-light district of New Orleans, was born Louise Hendley in Dallas County, Alabama, near Selma. Her mother, Amanda Tipton, was an African American housekeeper, and her father, Robert Hendley, was white. Her sister Della was the mother of the jazz composer and musician Spencer Williams.
Storyville was created by city ordinance in 1897 White was Storyville s most notorious madam in part because of her brilliant self promotion as the Diamond Queen of the demi monde and the Queen of the Octoroons and also the Handsomest Octoroon in America Octoroon is an outmoded racial designation technically meaning one eighth black The term however had a particular resonance beyond this crude blood calculus dating back at least to the antebellum period when abolitionists created a literary genre themed around the tragic octoroon quadroon or mulatta The precise heritage of the girl was unimportant ...
A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.