"No-Tsu-Oh", The Houston festival that was so bad, it was banned

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This is the way they partied in Houston in 1899!

It was called No-Tsu-Oh, "Houston" spelled backward, a festival designed to bring people to Houston and show off the city's deep water channel and promote the city as a hub of agriculture.

But the week-long festival, marked by drunkenness, soon drew the ire of some city leaders.



After a critical newspaper commentary and the advent of World War I, the short-lived festival saw its demise.

No-Tsu-Oh, was a Mardi-Gras style festival, with a "backward' theme.

Men dressed as women.

The symbolic leader of the carnival was "King Nottoc", "cotton" spelled backward. There was also "King Retaw", "water" spelled backward, and the city's African-American community celebrated "De-Ro-Loc", "Colored" spelled backward.

Some of Houston's most famous citizens served as "King Nottoc", including John Henry Kirby, Jesse H. Jones, and William T. Carter.

One the highlights of the festival was a football game between the University of Texas and the Mechanical College of Texas (Texas A & M).

The Aggies played the Longhorns in Houston, from 1914 through 1917.

The festival started in 1899 but was suspended after the outbreak of World War I and never returned.

Special thanks to the Houston Metropolitan Research Center of the Houston Public Library
Related Topics:
societyhistoryblack historyABC13 TBTremember whenHouston
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