Halloween Eve proved to be an appropriate time to introduce Pierre, the New Orleans Pelicans' new mascot. He certainly has a look that will scare the children; some adults, too. In fact, Pierre, with his fiendish eyes and non-Pelican-like beak looks more like an angry bird. Lovable Hugo the Hornet, we always knew he was on our side; Pierre looks like he is secretly pulling for the other team.
To date, the Benson organization has done a masterful job saving and rebuilding a troubled franchise. With all the time given to rebranding, signing new players and renovating the arena, one could understand if there was no time for a mascot lovability contest. Don’t worry though, here’s a suggestion: bring back Seymour D. Fair.
Seymour was the mascot for the 1984 World’s Fair. He was a benevolent pelican with a perpetual smile and a proper beak, and he dressed with dignity in a top hat, waistcoat and spats as though he was the ambassador welcoming everyone to the fair. Like the basketball team, Seymour faced some attendance issues but his lovability alone certainly sold some tickets. (See Seymour in action, in this case welcoming a mascot called Captain Catfish to the fair.)
My suggestion to the Pelicans management is to try to relocate the Seymour costumes, which, if it is not at the Smithsonian, should be at the Cabildo. Having done that, bring Seymour back but explain that over the years his last name was changed to Seymour D. Games. (Keep the Pierre costume to play the villain whenever the Atlanta Hawks or the Toronto Raptors come to town.)
When I last saw Seymour it was his finest moment. Though locals loved the fair it was a financial disaster so much so that for the closing night ceremonies most elected officials shunned the event, but not Seymour. I will always remember him arm and arm on the stage with Congresswoman Lindy Boggs and Irma Thomas swaying with a group of singers to Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long,” the song that earlier that year had closed out the Los Angeles Olympics.
Seymour had done his job. He had fought the good fight despite the odds. Given the early predictions about the Pelicans possibly making the playoffs, wouldn’t it be great if he had another chance in the spotlight? This time even the politicians would be applauding.
photo credits: Seymour D. Fair, courtesy of ilovelouisiana.com; Pierre the Pelican, courtesy of nba.com/pelicans
BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Errol’s Laborde’s new book, Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival (Pelican Publishing Company, 2013), is due to be released Oct. 31, 2013. It is now available at Amazon.com.
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