Society / Featured Parties

Houston Party That Once Rivaled Mardi Gras is Being Brought Back

NoTsuOh's Modern Return Makes For a Night of Epic Historic Partying

BY // 03.13.20
photography Priscilla Dickson

What more fun way for the Heritage Society to salute Houston’s history than by reviving one of the city’s long lost revelries, just as it did on a recent evening in the Crystal Ballroom at The Rice where a king and queen were crowned and reminiscences of the past echoed through the historic chamber?

The third annual NoTsuOh gala continued the revisiting of a fête that was said, during its run from 1899 through 1915, to rival the festivities of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras. The last of the original NoTsuOh galas took place in the ballroom where on this night C.C. and Duke Ensell were crowned Queen Ailongam III and King Nottoc.

In case you haven’t figured it out as yet, those unusual names are Houston (NoTsuOh), cotton (Nottoc) and magnolia (Ailongam) spelled backwards, a twist that was undoubtedly thought quite clever more than a century ago in a tradition that ended — at least for more than 100 years — with World War I.

On this festive night, the Ensells were crowned in coronation ceremonies by the previous king and queen, Truett Latimer (King Nottoc II) and Cathy Brock (Queen Ailongam II). Joining the program were Heritage Society executive director Alison Bell and interim board president Minnette Boesel (Queen Ailongam I). All was under direction of co-chairs/emcees/auctioneers PaperCity‘s visual arts and features editor Catherine D. Anspon and Houston historian Mister McKinney. This was not their first collaboration as the duo shares air time on KPFT.

Kirksey Gregg Productions dressed the ballroom in festive attire gratis for the fledgling event and offered a cocktail party in Ballroom on the Bayou as the evening’s only live auction item. In fact, he gifted the cocktail party to the three top bidders making for a very merry evening.

David Caceres and his orchestra provided the high notes for dancing and for a Second Line parade which showcased the vintage dress and costuming engaged by many of the guests. When all was said and done, the evening, clearly on its way to a full revival, doubled much-needed proceeds that were earned 2019.

PC Seen: Honorees Jo and Jim Furr, Electra and Douglas Elliott, Jillian Jopling and Peter McGillivray, Jordyn Ensell, Bill Stubbs, Kurt Grether, Virginia and John Swartz, Grace and O’Neal Furr, Erin Furr Stimming and Chris Stimming, City council member Sallie Alcorn and George Alcorn, Barbara Davis, Lawanda and Ed Laase, Margaret Wallace Brown and Lance Brown, Barbara and Jonathan Day, Debbie and TomHarwell, Shay Calhoun and Kirksey Gregg, Justice Margaret “Meg” Poissant, Meg Loustreau, Penelope and Lester Marks, and Patti and Don Murphy.

PC_Parallax_WhiteLogo_TheParklane-min Extraordinary lving experience that extends beyond individual residences.

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