People who sought free permits to operate their businesses petitioned the Mayor’s office, which sent its recommendation to the Department of Police and Public Buildings. These businesses usually consisted of peddling goods or food or selling them out of one’s house. Not everyone qualified for a free permit; Mrs. Mose Wiliams, for example, whose husband worked at the sugar refinery, was not considered penurious enough to receive a free permit to run her cook shop. The shop, most likely run out of her residence, was located in the heart of the red-light district, Storyville. Those who did qualify for free permits were often widows or single women, or married women whose husbands were infirm or delinquent.
[Inspector of Police. Correspondence, 1898-1913]