New Orleans and basketball possess an on again / off again romance over decades. From losing the Jazz in 1979 to almost getting the Timberwolves in 1994 and finally, under ( * cough * cough * ) Nagin, not yet elected to his first mayoral term, use of the New Orleans Arena for the once upon time hockey foray called the Brass springboarded the Crescent City back into the NBA limelight, ultimately securing the Hornets. Until now. Before you can utter another holiday greeting expect the Big Easy’s b-ballers moving forward to be known as the Pelicans. There’s a whole host of commentary on this change, both sides squawking over whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing; I’ll offer it’s nothing more than a missed opportunity. Have none of you ever see Teen Wolf? And for the record, it’s really okay if you’ve never seen Teen Wolf Too. Poor Jason Bateman, poor poor Jason Bateman. And today there’s a fairly boring TV series reboot of the story, which if you’re drifting through streaming Netflix, I’d say give it a go but leave your expectations at the door.
But to the point and more specifically, have we so soon forgotten our regional heritage and lore that we can quickly dismiss the loup garou? You know, the half man / half wolf, marsh type creature that’s way more creepy and fierce than the big winged bird on our state flag. And besides, Michael J. Fox never played a pelican. Look, it’s basically a swamp wolf, and who would ever want to tangle with one of those? No one. Pelicans are nice and emblematic and all that, but there’s so much more marketing you could do with the loup garou. A veritable untapped treasure trove of creative and unprecedented potential. Loup rhymes with hoop, for example, and we could rename the arena ‘the den’ (as opposed to ‘the hive,’ which always got under my skin frankly as hornets reside in nests, clearly). Now with this avian switchup the arena should definitely become known as the ‘the nest.’ And what of the cheerleaders, the Honeybees? Will they now be billed as the Feathers? Will burlesque promptly ensue?
If our team became the New Orleans Loup Garous the basketball world would take note. It would stand out and provide an identity akin to the fleur de lis on the Saints’ helmets. No other team will ever be able to pull off the black and gold imagery and moniker, but with a pelican, mais yeah, chere, anyone with a coastal community could. While pelicans clearly provide a regional tie to our sensibility a super swampy werewolf would stir the imagination, n’est-ce pas? Plus the cheerleaders could be known as the Loupettes or the She-Wolves. Now, we’re talking. Plus, New Orleans being a musical mecca, part of the branding could include ample howls and repeated playings of Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs’ “Little Red Riding Hood.” Including red, hooded (maybe even sequined) capes for the She-Wolves. It is after all a production, a show for the people, is it not? Why not give it an unexpected dimension and flair? Remember we are a city largely defined by a crescent moon, and with lunar cycles and werewolves – - – aaaaaaaahhhhhhrrrrrooooooowwwwwww!!!
In the end, methinks the Pelicans won’t be a flop so much as a flap of feathery fluff; personally I’d rather see some hoops with the Loups.
Jean-Paul Villere is the owner of Villere Realty and Du Mois Gallery on Freret Street and a married father of four girls. In addition to his Wednesday column at UptownMessenger.com, he also shares his family’s adventures sometimes via pedicab or bicycle on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.