The "Babydolls": Breaking Race and Gender Barriers of New Orleans Mardi Gras

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  • One of the first women's organizations to mask in a Mardi Gras parade, the Million Dollar Baby Dolls redefined the New Orleans carnival tradition. Tracing their origins from Storyville brothels and dance halls to their re-emergence in post-Katrina New Orleans, author Kim Vaz uncovers the fascinating history of the raddy-walking, shake-dancing, cigar-smoking, money-flinging ladies that strutted their way into a predominantly male establishment.

    Vaz follows the Baby Doll phenomenon through one hundred years of photos, articles, and interviews to conclude with the birth of contemporary groups such as the modern day Antoinette K-Doe's Ernie K-Doe Baby Dolls, the New Orleans Society of Dance's Baby Doll Ladies, and the Tremé Million Dollar Baby Dolls. Her book celebrates these organizations' crucial contribution to Louisiana's cultural history.