Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Pelican Represents Unwavering Resilience of New Orleans, Louisiana in BP Oil Spill, Hornets Front Office Gets an A+

By Adam Maher

In 2010, when the BP oil spill stole America's and the world's attention, thousands of stories, videos, and pictures made national news. It was one of the cruelest and most unfortunate blunders mankind has ever endowed upon the environment, leaving the entire food chain in the Gulf of Mexico out of wits. Thousands of cities were affected in the region, which had fish markets  low, tourism non-existent, but perhaps more importantly, hundreds if not thousands of animal and fish species almost completely wiped out, including sea turtles, dolphins, birds, plus plant life - the works.

Just six years removed from Hurricane Katrina at that point, the city of New Orleans was hit hardest by the oil spill. Every market that was battered eventually saw business go through NOLA. That on top of the fact that the oil was coming right up to the coast, and surrounding the famous Port Orleans. The people of NOLA were undeservedly getting smashed from all angles - natural disasters, corporate blunders - but there was a Saints Super Bowl in 2009, in which they defeated the almighty Peyton Manning and the Colts (Chris - I still owe you that $1,000).  That Super Bowl victory still serves as perhaps the greatest moment to hit New Orleans in the last decade, with the NCAA Basketball Tournament coming to town a close two, and now, thanks to the new ownership of the Hornets, Tom Benson and Dennis Lauscha, who also own the Saints and had heavy hands in the Super Dome Katrina relief projects as well as the 2009 Super Bowl, this moment of naming the Hornets the "Pelicans" comes in at a close three.

Why? Well, of all the pictures to come out of the gulf, what picture moved you most? What picture sent shivers down your spine? A picture that could only be taken in NOLA, the picture that carried the weight of an entire region of America in one shot? The most powerful picture from the BP oil crisis...

The Pelican.

The picture below is not the exact picture I'm talking about. Frankly, I wanted to post a picture of the oiled-covered, struggling-to-breathe brown bird but I couldn't bring myself to. A simple "BP oil spill monster pelican" google search should get you a glimpse if you so desire.

The point is that New Orleans has been through more in the past decade than any other region in the country. And sports has been a major avenue of relief for that region. People across the world might laugh and make japes at the idea of calling a pro sports team the pelicans - pelicans are thought of as goofy, and not fearsome - but they are resilient, prominent, important to the food chain, and downright beautiful. I remember in July this year, I was on a family vacation/reunion down near the North and South Carolina border line, right on the coast. They had an abundance of pelicans in Oak Island that week. It was a sight of beauty to watch the groups of pelicans fly up and down the coast in unison. I swear, they would fly down wind and travel for miles and miles, out of sight, not flapping their wings once. Pelicans truly are amazing birds. They are a symbol of what NOLA went through with the oil spill, and I think Dennis Lauscha, Jessica Richardson and Tom Benson could not have chosen a more symbolic bird for their team.

Now all New Orleans needs to do is make sure they design a proper logo and brand. Lord knows there is room to mess this up - I don't want to see any Disney animations. I want a wise, tall, broad, all-encompassing pelican that says, I'm NOLA, and this is what makes me: Power, resilience, triumph, team work, gliding though the wind all the way to the NBA Finals...