Sunday, November 05, 2006

Tek Ram calls you!

This 1899 advertisement appeared in the Houston Daily Post. Basically, a meeting was called to organize efforts to celebrate the first-ever No-Tsu-Oh carnival.

Resembling something like New Orleans’ Mardi Gras celebrations (without the nudity, I assume), the carnival was “designed to stimulate commerce by bringing people to the city,” according to the Handbook of Texas. Parades, balls and even a football game between UT and Texas A&M usually filled about a week’s worth of festivities in November.

By the first week of Nov. 1915, festivalgoers were treated to a game between Texas and Sewanee (University of the South).

But 1915 was also the last year of the festival. No clear definition of its demise was given other than to say WWI may have contributed.

Not helping matters was a Nov. 18, 1915, Houston Chronicle editorial titled, “Let it be our last ‘Carnival.’”

“It is high time that Houston, metropolis of the Southwest, railroad center for this great and growing section of the country, should offer something by way of an annual exhibition other than the tin-horn parades and garrulous horseplay,” the Chronicle opined.

“Houston is getting too big, and its machinery is too nicely regulated to the lives and necessities of its 150,000 inhabitants, to have such an upheaval planted periodically right in the midst of its commercial district without permanent benefit and with temporary feelings of disgust and disappointment on the part of both home folks and visitors.

“This is no longer the center of a small slow growing rural district where the privilege of throwing balls at an African dodger or spinning a wheel for cigars constitutes the acme of pleasure.”

The Chronicle called for an “appropriate annual celebration.”

“Above all else, we want sobriety, decency and respectability emphasized above other qualities because only in this way can the city’s higher purposes be expressed.”

Some photos on No-Tsu-Oh can be found here and here.

(On a somewhat similar note, the downtown hangout No Tsu Oh has reopened.)

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