The baby dolls are a masking tradition in new orleans dating back to the storyville era early 1900s with women dressing as either little girls or in some cases as actual baby dolls. The baby dolls breaking the race and gender barriers of the new orleans mardi gras tradition in this book over time different neighborhoods adopted the baby doll tradition stirring the creative imagination of black women and men across new orleans from the downtown trem area to the uptown community of mahalia jackson . Featured non fiction this years one book one new orleans selection one of the first womens organizations to mask in a mardi gras parade the million dollar baby dolls redefined the new orleans carnival tradition. The baby dolls breaking the race and gender barriers of the new orleans mardi gras tradition kim vazs engaging and thoroughly researched book is the first in depth study of one of new orleanss least understood mardi gras performances vaz offers compelling new perspectives on baby doll history the maskers themselves and . The baby dolls emerged in the brothels and dance halls of new orleans around 1910 and the tradition was born from a competition between women vying for business on mardi gras
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