The Spring Fiesta Timeline
A leader in cultural tourism since 1937, the New Orleans Spring Fiesta Association is a non-profit organization with a simple mission:
To promote tourism in New Orleans and the State of Louisiana by educating, preserving, and sharing our unique heritage, architecture and cuisine with all who come to enjoy our hospitality.
Significant Dates in Spring Fiesta History:
The formal organization of the Spring Fiesta took place in the historic home of Mrs. Helen Pitkin Schertz.
First Queen and Her Court
The whole city came together to celebrate the first Spring Fiesta. Foley’s florist donated a wall of orchids and Maison Blanche donated dresses to the Court. Rita Holland was our first Queen. She was joined by Lois Le Vasseur, Joan Mooney, Jane Lacourrege, Ann Mae Keller, Janet Brands, and Mary Zimmermann as her ladies in waiting. Rita Holland was aunt to our current Professional Tour Guide, Darlene Landry and great aunt to the 2001 Queen Elizabeth-Ashley Landry.
By 1950, Spring Fiesta had moved to new headquarters in the historic Upper Pontalba Building at 546 St. Peter. It was here that the Association maintained its office and provided a year-round information service for visitors.
At this time the annual Spring program included opening day festivities at the Delgado Museum of Art with a pageant also being staged there. Tours were extended to include plantations on the bayou, river and lovely old homes in St. Tammany Parish.
Queen and Full Court
In 1956, our Queen was Miss Lynn MacMurdo (now Mrs. Robert L. Redfearn). The Queen was joined by a full court, Maids of Honor, Demoiselles, Jewel Bearers. She and her Court were honored at a dinner in International House, a special night at the Opera, and several other receptions during the Fiesta. Several of our Queens have also represented our organization at the Mardi Gras Ball held each year in Washington, D.C.
A Permanent Move
1977 proved to be another special season for Spring Fiesta. In that year, the Association was made beneficiary of the property at 826 St. Ann Street. The home, a typical townhouse of the era, was built sometime prior to 1844 and remains today as the headquarters for The New Orleans Spring Association.
The organization was incorporated in 1939 and the dreams of the original founders, Mrs. Schertz, Mrs. Hamilton Polk Jones, and Mrs. Otto Joachim truly became a reality.
The First Headquarters
In 1940, Spring Fiesta had an office on Common Street with the Association’s headquarters being located at 725 Iberville. In addition to house and garden tours, there were also concerts, receptions, and art exhibits on the calendar of events.
The First Parade
The first “Night in Old New Orleans” parade was held in 1954. Tableaux, musicians, singers and story tellers all formed part of the street scene in this gala night.
A New Home
In 1970, the Association was required to find a new home due to the city’s renovation of the Upper Pontalba Building. The third headquarters for Spring Fiesta was at 529 St. Ann Street in the Lower Pontalba Building.
In 2018 Gallants for the demoiselles and promenade were added. The addition of young men to the court brought the enthusiasm of the young men of the families to the organization.
The King's Court
In 2023 a full King’s Court was added to embrace the entire family of our Spring Fiesta members. The King’s Court consists of Captain, Royal Guard and King. We have dubbed our King as Roi I, the French term for king. Casmier Joseph Blanda, View Carré philanthropist, volunteer and historian was chosen as our First King. Mr. Blanda know as C.J. to us joined the organization in 1961. He has been a Board Member since 1965 and held all of the offices and committee chair positions over the years. The King and His Attendants, the Captain and Royal Guard are chosen for their volunteerism and dedication to the organization.