Houstonians and The Heritage Society Revive a Coronation Ball

The Heritage Society recreates a Downtown business tradition that occurred in the early 1900s

Did you know that Houston once had kings and queens who ruled over a week-long Mardi Gras like festival with a backward theme? On Friday, May 7, 2021, a new NoTsuOh king and queen will be crowned at The Heritage Society’s Coronation Gala, to be held at The Ballroom at Bayou Place, at 500 Texas Avenue.

“The NoTsuOh festival is one of the great traditions from early Houston that brought Texans together in Downtown to launch agriculture and trade,” Alison Ayres Bell, executive director of The Heritage Society, said. “From 1899 to 1915, merchants came from all over Texas for business and also recognized well- known businesspeople who were crowned as royalty and rode on parade street and boat floats.”

If you are wondering why the word NoTsuOh looks strangely familiar, that’s because it is Houston spelled backward. Each year, a King Nottoc (Cotton spelled backward) was revealed and his duties were to rule over the Tekram (market spelled backward) of Saxet (Texas spelled backward). In addition to elaborate parades, decorated buildings, and football games, a fancy carnival ball was held at The Rice Hotel’s ballroom to crown the king and queen of the city in a week-long event.

The celebration was abandoned with the beginning of World War I; however, NoTsuOh was later revived in 2018 by The Heritage Society. “Our modern-version of the NoTsuOh Coronation Gala provides us the ability to operate ten historic house museums, a museum gallery, and a collection of more than 23,000 historical items,” said Laura Woods, development director of The Heritage Society.

“We moved our event to the spacious The Ballroom at Bayou Place, so we could recreate a ballroom atmosphere with historic flair, provide space for all of our auction items, and provide extra social distancing room for dancing and entertainment,” Bell said. “Our board member Kirksey Gregg of Kirksey Gregg Productions is one of the owners of The Ballroom at Bayou Place and has again generously offered his event services to make this year’s NoTsuOh the most regal yet.”

“This year, we will have an online auction for those who cannot attend the gala,” Woods said. “Auction items include antique furniture, trips, jewelry, sports packages, purses, spa packages, and other luxuries.”

Celebrate a Houston business tradition and support Downtown Houston’s history museum on Friday, May

  1. For tickets and more information, please click here.

More about The Heritage Society: The Heritage Society, a 501 (c)(3) organization, tells the stories of the diverse history of Houston and Texas through collections, exhibits, educational programs, film, video, and online content. Founded in 1954 by a number of public-spirited Houstonians to rescue the 1847 Kellum- Noble House from demolition, The Heritage Society has since saved an additional nine historic buildings, moved them from various locations to join the Kellum-Noble House in Sam Houston Park, and restored them to reflect their respective eras. These 10 buildings, along with the museum gallery, serve as historic reference points and exhibition spaces for more than 23,000 artifacts that document life in Houston from the early 1800s to the mid-1900s. To see a 2021 calendar of events, head here. For more information about our safer private tour and event options in 2021, please contact info@heritagesociety.org.