Prostitution Biography of Madam Babe Connors

About the famous Madam Babe Connors, biography and history of the St. Louis prositute and her specialties.

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Babe Connors

Babe (1856-1918) was a plump, bronze-skinned lady of mixed blood who stood 5 ft. 7 in. tall and usually weighed in at around 165 lb. By the time she had opened her first famous parlor house at 210 South Street in St. Louis (about 1890), she was in her mid-30s--an outgoing, fun-loving businesswoman who liked to dress elegantly (complete with feather boa and parasol) while taking drives in her open carriage through fashionable Forest Park, where her diamonds outshone the sun.

Her Houses: "The Castle" on Sixth Street was a three-story structure of white-painted bricks. It was abandoned in 1898 for a "double house" in the new red-light district on Chestnut Street. Called "The Palace," this building featured the finest of rugs, tapestries, and objects d'art. Inside were a number of $250 crystal chandeliers and at least a dozen fair-skinned octoroons, who sometimes danced in nothing but their stockings. Although the decor and the ladies were elegant, Missouri segregationist attitudes kept the prices low in a "mixed house," and a quick sprint upstairs could be obtained for as little as $5. Longer, more elaborate sessions were four to five times that.

Specialties and Eccentricities: Babe Connor's houses were famous for a fantastic old singer named Mama Lou, a "gnarled black African of the purest type," who generally wore a calico dress, a gingham apron, and a big bandanna about her head. Nine tenths of her songs were obscene, and all were revelations to visiting whites who'd never heard down-home field songs, blues, and ballads before. It is said that Mama Lou provided pop song writers with the original melodies for such famous tunes as "Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight" and the "Bully Song." Many guests came just to hear Mama Lou perform, including the great Polish artist and statesman Ignace Paderewski, who played along with Mama Lou on the parlor piano back in the early 1890s.

Babe Connors was also famous for shows in which the most beautiful of her girls--attired in evening gowns but wearing nothing in the way of underclothes--would dance on a huge mirror.

Before her death, Babe was converted to Catholicism by Harry Bridgewater, a St. Louis saloonkeeper. She was buried in St. Theresa's Cemetery.

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