In 1873, Louise Wooster was a well paid lady of the evening (don’t you just love this term?) when a deadly cholera epidemic swept through Birmingham, Alabama. Several thousand people fled the city, but Lou stayed to nurse the sick, feed the hungry, and prepare the dead for funerals.
After the epidemic, she moved to Montgomery, Alabama to open a brothel, but by 1880, Lou had returned to Birmingham operating multiple brothels near City Hall where she could attract the wealthiest patrons. She made a fortune, donated heavily to charities and frequently came to the aid of fallen women.
Lou was also known as “the women of many lovers”, the last sweetheart of John Wilkes Booth, the actor, who killed Abraham Lincoln. She chronicled her exploits in a book called Autobiography of a Magdalene.
Want to know more? Check out this article: Early Birmingham madam who saved sick will have scrapbook in history center.