No-Tsu-Oh

carnivalbw1899and1917.jpg
[Copyright © 2000, University of Houston Libraries]

From 1899 to 1915, Houstonians hosted an annual carnival called No-Tsu-Oh. Black Houstonians held the De-Ro-Loc carnival. King Nottoc presided over the No-Tsu-Oh parade until replaced by King Retaw (in honor of the completion of the Houston Ship Channel in 1914). Notable kings included John Henry Kirby, Jesse H. Jones, and William T. Carter; a notable queen was Frankie Carter.

no-tsu-ohart.jpg
[bayoucityhistory.blogspot.com]

museum-of-houston-1910.jpg
[Alvin Romansky Papers, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries]

No-Tsu-Oh replaced the annual Fruit, Flower, and Vegetable Festival that Houstonians attended in the mid-1880’s. The annual week-long No-Tsu-Oh carnival seems to have generally been held in November, to coincide with the footbal game between the University of Texas and Texas A&M (then the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas). But it may have been held in December in 1899. In 1907, the carnival featured a large electric light display on the Benz Building. In 1910, King Nottoc XII was honored at a No-Tsu-Oh Carnival Ball at the Houston Auditorium. The carnival’s demise was likely connected to the beginning of World War I, but may have been hastened by a November 18, 1915 editorial in the Houston Chronicle denouncing the annual event.

More information:
bayoucityhistory.blogspot.com, “Tek Ram Calls You!
The Handbook of Texas Online, “No-Tsu-Oh
Charles Orson Cook, ed., “John Milsaps’s Houston: 1910,” Houston Review 1 (Spring 1979).

2 responses to “No-Tsu-Oh

  1. Any comments on a small silver “box” with “No-Tsu-Oh Ball, Nov. 6th 1907” on top?

  2. Curtiss L Lanham

    My wife has one exactly like what you describe, Greig. It looks like a commemorative jewelry or keepsake box.

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