Change is in the air in New Orleans; as “The Times-Picayune,” reported Thursday, that the New Orleans Hornets will cease to exist at the conclusion of this NBA campaign, replaced by the New Orleans Pelicans, starting next season. The paper reports that the new team nickname has already passed approval by the NBA Board Of Governors. Franchise owner Tom Benson, who also owns the New Orleans Saints, has wanted to give his club a new moniker since purchasing the team last year.
Benson told reporters “This isn’t something that was just done overnight. This is a long process. We are not just changing the name to change the name. The Hornets name came from Charlotte. That fits in with Charlotte. It doesn’t fit into New Orleans, La., or our area here. The Hornets don’t mean anything here. We needed something that symbolizes New Orleans and Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. And nothing does that better than this name.”
The Brown-Pelican, is the state bird of Louisiana, as well as having a long-term relationship with sports fans that live in the “Big Easy.” The Pelicans were the city’s minor-league baseball club, from 1887-1959 and tried making a comeback for one season in 1977.
Team President Dennis Lauscha, is very enthused with the new name. Lauscha, said “The primary focus, the primary goal was obviously trying to find that iconic symbol or logo that could really relate to the fans and community and the region. You have to remember this is not just about downtown New Orleans, it’s about this entire region that we serve. The pelican certainly does do that. We intend to use this, the logo and image, as a platform for what we are doing in the community as well. We really wanted to find that iconic name that really is special to New Orleans, that has a special New Orleans feel that our fans can resonate with and say hey ‘that is new Orleans that is our culture that is who we are. We wanted to find that iconic symbol just like the fleur-de-lis is for the Saints.”
The Hornets name could very well be revived, as Charlotte Bobcats team owner Michael Jordan, has stated the would explore options of bringing the name back to Charlotte.