The Catholic Worker Movement

The Thrills of 1924:
Dorothy Day Encounters
the "Underworld Denizens" of New Orleans

by Robert P Russo

For four months beginning in December 1923, Dorothy Day lived in New Orleans and found work with The New Orleans Item newspaper. She wrote seventy articles during that time, mostly a daily society column titled "All Around New Orleans".

Of special note are eight articles Dorothy wrote while going undercover as a taxi-dancer at the city's notorious dance halls. On display is the style Dorothy would bring to The Catholic Worker paper: sensitivity to the exploited, colorful characterizations, and a distaste of violence.

Read Robert Russo's introduction to the articles: "Introduction"

Order from Epiphany Press: The Thrills of 1924: Dorothy Day Encounters the "Underworld Denizens" of New Orleans

Also order from Lulu: The Thrills of 1924: Dorothy Day Encounters the "Underworld Denizens" of New Orleans


This is a selection of articles from The Thrills of 1924. The book has all the articles Dorothy wrote for The New Orleans Item.

Going Undercover in New Orleans

  1. "Dance Hall Life of City Is Revealed" (DDLW #50)

  2. "Dance Halls Flooded By Drink, Dope" (DDLW #51)

  3. "Hangers-On Scramble to Gain Dance Hall Girls, Then Offer Them Whisky, Dope Smokes" (DDLW #52)

  4. "Danceland Girls Make Only 4 Cents But Manager Explains That It “Isn’t a Rough Joint”" (DDLW #55)

  5. "Too Drunk to Dance, Some Swagger, Boast and Quarrel During Dance Hall Orgies" (DDLW #56)

  6. "Woman With Knife Chases Dance Hall Girl Through Streets After Cafe Clash" (DDLW #57)

  7. "Girl Supplements Wages As Store Clerk by Work At Dance Hall at Night" (DDLW #58)

  8. "Dance Hall Girl Wakes Up In Strange Room After Night Of Carousing in Cabarets" (DDLW #59)

The Thrills of 1924

  1. "Here and There About New Orleans-January 6, 1924" (DDLW #111)

  2. "The Thrills of 1924- February 25, 1924" (DDLW #112)

  3. "The Thrills of 1924- February 26, 1924" (DDLW #108)

  4. "The Thrills of 1924- February 27, 1924" (DDLW #21)

  5. "The Thrills of 1924- February 28, 1924" (DDLW #22)

  6. "The Thrills of 1924- February 29, 1924" (DDLW #109)

  7. "The Thrills of 1924- March 1, 1924" (DDLW #110)

"Visiting Celebrities"

  1. "Mme. Duse Here As Recluse; Even Sleuth Tactics Fail To Break Actress’ Privacy" (DDLW #100)

  2. "Fuqua’s Shown to be Real Home-Loving Family" (DDLW #101)

  3. "Henry Fuqua’s Friends in Baton Rouge Recall Deeds of Life of Achievement" (DDLW #102)

  4. "Fuqua Liked by Convicts For Making Prison Life Comfortable As Possible" (DDLW #103)

  5. "Dempsey Scores Another Knockout" (DDLW #104)

  6. "Boxers Seem Fine Fellows" (DDLW #105)