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The Baby Dolls of New Orleans: A Cultural Tradition


Featuring Kim Vaz-Deville, PhD

Not far off Claiborne, sex workers in Black Storyville creatively challenged conditions of racism and sexism in the streets. Claiming the name ‘Baby Dolls’ and dressing in colorful adult-size children’s clothing, complete with bonnets and pacifiers, the women turned racist hierarchies of sexual desirability on their head. They appropriated male behaviors and created their own dance, ‘walking raddy’, asserting their right to self-expression in public space despite Jim Crow constraints. The destruction of Black Storyville and of North Claiborne disrupted the baby dolls’ traditions, but a post-Katrina revival of the beloved tradition has been much appreciated on Mardi Gras days ‘under the bridge.’ 

Join us in learning more from Dr. Kim Vaz-Deville, author of The 'Baby Dolls': Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition. 

Contact: Summer Behling

Newcomb-Tulane College

For more information on this event, please visit https://fs27.formsite.com/TIDES/bxs5lrtvcs/index.html