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Blake Pontchartrain: Night in Old New Orleans

The 80-year-old Spring Fiesta returns in March



Hey Blake,

Can you tell me any history about the Night in Old New Orleans parade? My mom rode in the mid-to-late-1960s, when I was a child, and wore a pink satin antebellum dress with hoop skirt. I have the costume but no other details.


Dear Terasa,

  There are few times of the year as wonderful as spring in New Orleans, and for 80 years the annual Spring Fiesta — including the Night in Old New Orleans parade and ball — has capitalized on that, celebrating local history and architecture. The first Spring Fiesta, held in the French Quarter in March 1937, was organized by a group called the Orleans Foundation and modeled on events such as the Natchez Pilgrimage. The first Spring Fiesta included many events that continue to this day, such as historic home tours, a pageant, an art show and a flower show.

  The first Night in Old New Orleans events were held as part of the 1939 Spring Fiesta. The nighttime event featured sidewalk dining, balcony singers and a parade with horse-drawn carriages and people dressed as historical characters. The tradition of having a Spring Fiesta queen and court (dressed in the antebellum, or pre-Civil War, attire you described) began in 1956.

  The Spring Fiesta Association continues the event each year with French Quarter home and garden tours, the presentation of a queen and court in Jackson Square and a carriage ride through the French Quarter. This year's events are scheduled for two weekends, March 25-26 and April 1-2.

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