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The History of Spring Fiesta


Spring Fiesta, whose crowning glory is loyalty to the best traditions of New Orleans...

The New Orleans Spring Fiesta Association began with the idea that New Orleans, with its many natural attractions - its historic Vieux Carré and the Garden District, could readily become a Mecca for the many visitors who come to the South during the early spring. The wonderful success of the Natchez Pilgrimage proved that people are extremely interested in the cultural heritage of the South and in seeing beautiful homes and rare gardens. The thousands who visited those alluring centers of charm were potential visitors to New Orleans if only the advantage of the city could be brought to their attention.

The Beginning

The formal organization of Spring Fiesta took place over 80 years ago in 1937 in the historic Spanish home of Mrs. Helen Pitkin Schertz. Here, within view of the romantic Bayou St. John, an early entrance to New Orleans, a group of New Orleanians made plans for an annual event, to be known as the New Orleans Spring Fiesta, whose crowning glory was loyalty to the best traditions of New Orleans.

The group outlined a program including concerts, an opera performance, artists' exhibits, a brilliant pageant, garden tours, and historic home tours where the hosts and hostesses receiving guests would wear authentic costumes, emphasizing the historic era of each home.

The purpose, in addition to preserving and celebrating New Orleans' cultural heritage, was also dedicated to educating visitors and citizens alike regarding that heritage.

Present Day

Today the New Orleans Spring Fiesta Association is a non-profit organization whose continuing purpose is to preserve and share the cultural heritage of New Orleans, to promote the preservation of the region's history and historic architecture, and to educate others regarding the importance of that history.

These goals are pursued in a lively spirit of camaraderie by promoting tourism through the annual tour of homes and courtyards in the French Quarter, Garden District, Uptown area and surrounding Plantations. These are private homes, and the Spring Fiesta is often the only time they are available for touring. This opportunity is quite an attraction for many.

Our Spring Gala, "A Night in Old New Orleans", is truly a celebration of the city's cultural heritage. In the grand New Orleans tradition of formal balls, this event is our crowning glory for the year. Members, guests and participants in this Gala enjoy an enlightened evening of dinner, dancing, entertainment and camaraderie.

As part of the annual Spring Fiesta, a young lady, a daughter of one of the members, is selected as Queen to reign over the annual activities. And of course, the Queen must be accompanied by a Court to assist her during her reign. The Royal Court is selected from the family of the members based upon volunteerism and dedication to the Association.