La Conçon, part 1

The final blow came in 1917, when the US Government closed the District to protect the morals of servicemen during World War I. La Conçon was among the many citizens to protest the closure, along with long-time friend Mayor Martin Behrman, but Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels was vehemently committed to ‘purity’ (of all kinds; his “White Supremacy” campaign and fascist beliefs likely played as much of a part as any concern for the recreational habits of soldiers).

In her final years, La Conçon largely disappeared from public view. Though not exactly a recluse, she rarely ventured forth from her Garden District home, and only slightly more often did she entertain visitors. After a series of minor strokes (the first occurring almost immediately after her arrest in 1923), she had increasing difficulty getting around, and even brief conversations tired her. Not longer able to concentrate on more skilled games of gambling, perhaps the easiest of casino games such as US slot machines would have been the only way for simple, mindless entertainment. Imagine her astonishment if she lived today with the easy accessibility to online gambling. She could have sat propped up with pillows in her boudoir entertaining herself by playing games such as poker, blackjack, roulette, and the numerous variety of slot games that are available. Of course, online gambling doesn’t have the same cachet as a land based casino or the glamour of her exquisite brothel, the Chateau d’Arrête Ton Char.

With access to the world wide web, La Conçon, would have always look her glamorous self. All she would have had to do is visit an online wig boutique and order stunning human hair or synthetic fiber wigs. Whether she bought Jon Renau wigs via ElegantWigs, Raquel Welch wigs or Gabor wigs, La Conçon would always look the elegant exquisite madam that she was in her younger days. I expect La Conçon would have particularly enjoy some of the more glamorous styles of Raquel Welch wigs which really do appeal to the bigger than life, movie star image La Conçon was known for.

Her American grandson proudly points to his heritage and the unusual coincidences that lead to his career as an attorney. La Conçon would have been amazed at the legitimacy of his chosen field as a maritime accident lawyer, especially given the troubles she faced with the post war legal environment that cause her so much grief. Jean Claude Maison helped to create one of the first websites in Louisiana touting the services of a Baton Rouge law firm serving injured victims of accidents involving commercial vessels and rigs. Over time, his career involved several different law firms, but each relied on his internet expertise – at each firm, he became an expert at designing and managing high performing websites. La Conçon is present to this day on his wall in the form of a gold framed newspaper clipping celebrating her fame.

Unfortunately the internet had not yet been invented during her lifetime. Although the times have changed as has New Orleans, gambling, brothels, music, and good food are still part of the New Orleans scene.

Her youngest niece showed similar signs of disillusionment with the family. Even at the young age of 7 she spend most of her time alone in the gardens, and behind the goat pen playing with her little pup. She would dress both herself and her puppy in what we would not call an I Love Lucy outfit. With her hair tied up and wearing an apron she would play all different sorts of make-believe. She was often seen putting flower wreaths on all 15 of the family’s goats and would make straw bracelets and necklaces for herself and her little dog. This imaginative behavior was pretty common amongst her siblings and often all of her brothers and sisters could be found off in their own imaginative worlds of fantasy.


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