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Scuttlebits

All the news that doesn't fit

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   The New Orleans Arena was renamed "Smoothie King Center" one week before the NBA All-Star Game was to be played there (see cover story, p. 19). Ten-year naming rights were sold to Smoothie King, which was founded in New Orleans in 1973 and now has more than 600 franchise outlets. Attendees at the All-Star Game will be "greeted by a 20-foot high Smoothie King cup at the building's main entrance on Gravier Street," company representatives said in a statement ...

   Tulane University professor, political advisor and New Orleans resident James Carville signed a deal last week to become an on-air pundit for Fox News. Carville, who left longtime home CNN last year (as did his wife, pundit Mary Matalin), has made guest appearances on various news shows since. In a statement, Fox News executive vice president Bill Shine said, "We are privileged to have him lend his breadth of experience, wit and dynamic perspective on the network." Carville was seen pressing the flesh and giving interviews earlier this month at Mayor Mitch Landrieu's election-night victory party ...

   Garret Graves, head of Louisiana's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) for six years under Gov. Bobby Jindal, announced last week he would be leaving the office Feb. 17 (see "Politics," p. 17). Graves will be replaced by Jerome Zeringue. Rumors immediately circulated that Graves — an advisor to former U.S. Sen. John Breaux and to former U.S. Rep. Billy Tauzin — might run in November for the Louisiana 6th District Congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, who is running for U.S. Senate this fall against incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu. The 6th District includes all or part of 13 parishes, from the River Parishes through much of the Northshore to metro Baton Rouge and down to some central Acadiana parishes. Graves did nothing to tamp speculation, telling the Baton Rouge Business Report he had been urged to run by supporters, and telling The Times-Picayune he would be "praying with my family before deciding my next move."

   Wine Enthusiast magazine last week wrote of Commander's Palace owner Ella Brennan: "Some might describe Ella Brennan, owner of Brennan's restaurant empire in New Orleans, as the Forrest Gump of cocktail culture." We're pretty sure no one has ever said that, ever. — KEVIN ALLMAN

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