Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Mosterman, Andrea

Second Advisor

Dupont, Robert

Third Advisor

Mitchell, Mary Niall


People have long used tattoos as markers of identification. However, there remain limited scholarly studies on the history of tattoos within the city of New Orleans. This thesis argues that through analysis of the tattoos recorded in the New Orleans Police Department Mugshot Collection, it is possible to situate the early twentieth century arrested population within a greater societal context, allowing for the intimate details of individual lives and personal stories to come to the forefront. Through the synthesis of demographic data from the 152 mugshots that pertain to tattooed arrestees, and three case studies on arrestees with patriotic, nautical, and name and initial thematic tattoo designs, this research places tattoos and the narratives of tattooed arrestees within the larger social and historical context of the early twentieth century.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.