NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Hornets are moving ahead with plans to change their name to the Pelicans next season, people familiar with the decision said.
The people spoke to The Associated Press Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the Hornets have not announced the name change. The people say that is expected to come Thursday, when club also will unveil the proposed new color scheme of blue, gold and red.
Hornets owner Tom Benson has said since buying the NBA club last spring that he wanted a new name representing New Orleans and Louisiana.
The brown pelican is the state bird and has become symbolic of efforts to restore Louisiana's fragile coast, which has been hit hard by the 2010 BP oil spill and erosion from major storms including Hurricane Katrina, which displaced the Hornets to Oklahoma City for two seasons from 2005-07.
Benson owns the rights to the name Pelicans, which was used for decades by a former minor league baseball team in New Orleans.
The NBA would have to approve any name change, but Commissioner David Stern already said during a visit to New Orleans earlier this season that he won't object to whatever new name Benson might choose because he knows it will be "sensible," and that the league could expedite the process.
The Hornets are New Orleans' second NBA team. The first was the Jazz, which played in the Big Easy from 1974-79 before moving to Utah, and current owners of the club have indicated on multiple occasions they had no intention of giving up that name so New Orleans could have it back.
The Hornets were founded in Charlotte in 1988 by then-owner George Shinn, who kept that name when he moved the team to New Orleans in 2002.
Shinn sold the Hornets to the NBA in December 2010, and the league spent more than a year looking for a buyer who would keep the team in New Orleans long term.
Last April, Benson, who also has owned the NFL's New Orleans Saints since 1985, agreed to purchase the club for $338 million. As part of the purchase, he agreed to a lease of the state-owned New Orleans Arena through 2024, ending several years of speculation that the club would be moved again to another city seeking an NBA franchise.
The Hornets were in San Antonio on Wednesday night to play the Spurs, heading into the game with a promising stint of seven victories in their past nine games, but still near the bottom of the Western Conference standings. The recent increase in winning has coincided with the return of high-scoring guard Eric Gordon from a knee injury that sidelined him for most of the first two months of the season.
Since Benson took over the club, the contracts of general manager Dell Demps and head coach Monty Williams have been extended, and the team has seen an influx of new, young talent including first overall draft choice Anthony Davis and 10th overall pick Austin Rivers.
Now the hope is that the club's young nucleus will turn New Orleans into an NBA contender in the years to come, and do so with a new look and new name which speak to the regions fans.
MAY 23 Here's a story in the Picayune about some statistics that must come as a blow to folks who believe that any private school can do a better job of educating kids than any public school: Danielle Dreilinger reports that only 30 percent of the voucher kids are passing. That's less than half of the state wide average, she says. It's an interesting statistic because most of the schools (if not all) taking voucher kids have never had their students' standardized test scores released to the public before.
MAY 23 Stephen Sabludowsky blogs on Bayou Buzz about auditor requests here. Recently the state GOP started crowing about a request from the Legislative Auditor, claiming they were being targeted because of their anti-tax stance. (Uh, your what?) Denial and hyperbole aside, the state Democratic party blew holes in that theory with an email announcing they'd received the same request, Sabludowsky writes here.
MAY 23 Jim Brown blogs about the senate race in this post. He says that, given Bobby Jindal's "lack of traction" on the national stage, it might make more sense for the governor to consider running against Mary Landrieu for the senate seat. Since Tim Teeple left the Cassidy team, it makes sense he might land on a Jindal for Senate team, Brown opines.
MAY 23 In this Louisiana Voice post, blogger Tom Aswell writes of rumors that his nemesis, state Superintendent of Education John White, may be soon departing Louisiana for a federal post. It's hard to believe, given his performance, Aswell says, but stranger things have happened. An anti-White BESE member says that, if true, White is quitting before he can be fired.
MAY 23 In this post on American Zombie, blogger Jason Berry writes about the Mother's Day shooting. Mayor Landrieu said that "this is not who we are," but the fact is, this is New Orleans, Berry writes. The violence infused in the city is the result of a culture created by "sins of omission or sins of commission," Berry writes. It's not a problem that can be solved by legislating, policing, praying or publicizing, he says: Someone's got to understand what's happening first.
MAY 23 This post in the Westside Journal tells us what Port Allen Mayor Deedy has been up to lately: vetoing ordinances, apparently. This story is most interesting, however, when it delves into a petition that has been circulating around the city lately. It accuses the former mayor of a lot of nasty things; the former mayor says it is full of lies and "broken syntax" which may be a larger offense in his eyes.
MAY 23 This editorial posted in The Advocate is a bit confusing. The writing is poor - definitely not up to the usual editorial writing standard there - and the point is hard to grasp. Apparently, the writer is saying that privatization of state efforts is OK, as long as there is oversight and transparency, but Jindal's not good at that, and the legislature shouldn't over-react. Okey Dokey. Can't they get one of them Pulitzer-winning people to write an editorial?
MAY 23 This post on The Lens gives you links to a new Google Earth tool that allows you to see any spot on earth transform over the past 30 years. Bob Marshall, who covers the coast for the paper, says that in the case of Louisiana's coastline, it's possibly something you don't want to see, because it's not a pretty picture. There are several clips here, showing critical areas erode away. For Marshall, it was vindication for all those times he was met with eye-rolling when he talked about erosion.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.