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Mascot and Anonymous: Salacious New Orleans Newspaper's Scandals, Duels Revisited

by M.D. Dupuy

Many New Orleanians have been less than pleased with the Times-Picayune’s recent shift from daily publication, but no one challenged Steven Newhouse to a duel or even staked outside of his office to beat him with a cowhide. Disgruntled readers reacted differently in the late 1800’s, when The Mascot, which will be the subject of a Wednesday night presentation, was still active.


From 1882-1897, the tabloid served as the South’s largest and most vilified illustrated journal. Tomorrow night at the Old US Mint, (400 Esplanade Avenue) “Notorious! More Tales from the Mascot, New Orleans’ famed scandal sheet!” brings viewers new insights into the risqué world of 19th century journalism in the dirty South.


Local photographer and history buff Sally Asher has been steadily researching the long lost journal for nearly two years.


“There were multiple duels between some of New Orleans’ most prominent citizens and the editors of the publication,” Asher explains. “There were three deaths total attributed to The Mascot.” 


The tabloid was unapologetic to say the least, erring everyone’s dirty laundry as front-page news, complete with unflattering cartoons. 


“It’s like it’s been written out of history,” Asher muses.


The paper had a huge following within Louisiana as well as in neighboring states such as Alabama and Mississippi.


“They were taking their lives into their own hands any time they published anything,” says Asher.  


Haunted History tour guide Andrew Ward, costume designer Veronica Russell, and Burlesque artist Trixie Minx will rework The Mascot back into New Orleans literary history with tomorrow’s dramatic readings. Asher says the trio is the perfect group for the comedic and shocking homage to Louisiana history. 


Asher says her timing of the reading has nothing to do with the current state of New Orleans journalism.


“It does seem to fit, everybody kept seeing the connection and saying, ‘Oh, it’s such great timing.’ I didn’t realize when I started,” says Asher. “It’s interesting because so many local newspapers at the time would write out against The Mascot. The Chief of Police seized and destroyed the newspaper two months after it had been out, and this was a weekly,” explains Asher. 


One former Times-Picayune writer suffered from a case of misidentification, a common occurrence during The Mascot’s lifetime.


“There are a lot of court cases of assault where writers and artists would be misidentified through the Mascot. There were no bylines,” Asher explains. “Some women carried cowhides around in their purses for six months waiting for one artist, and they waited for him outside one day and started beating him when he came out of the building,” explains Asher. “He was actually an artist for the Times-Pic.”  


Don’t miss the reception before the show at 6:30, with free cupcakes donated by Cake Café, rum cocktails from Perestroika at Pravda, and some free copies of The Mascot for viewers to take a trip back in time. The event is free and open to the public, and it begins at 7 p.m.

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Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.


Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

Alexis Manrodt

B. E. Mintz

Stephen Babcock

Published Daily