Owner of Pelicans, Saints to drop 'Dixie' from brewing company, products

METAIRIE, La. -- New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson announced plans to change the name of her New Orleans-based Dixie Brewing Company, along with all Dixie-branded products, because of the connotations associated with the name.

The term "Dixie" has been associated with the Southern United States dating to the days of the Confederacy.

"We recognize that our nation and community are currently engaged in critical conversations about racism and systemic social issues that have caused immeasurable pain and oppression of our black and brown communities," Benson said in a statement. "As New Orleans, and our country, continue to evolve, we find it necessary to reflect on the role our brewery can play in making our home more united, strong and resilient for future generations."

The Grammy Award-winning music group the Dixie Chicks recently dropped the word "Dixie" from their name amid widespread efforts toward racial sensitivity throughout the country in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. NASCAR recently banned Confederate flags from all racetracks.

Benson also announced the creation of a Social Justice Leadership Coalition in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in police custody last month. The Saints and Pelicans also recognized Juneteenth as a holiday, giving employees the day off to recognize the date when slavery was ended in the United States.

Benson and her late-husband, Tom Benson, purchased a majority of the Dixie Brewing Company in 2017 to revive the historic local brand, which was originally founded in 1907.

At the time, Benson said they engaged in "extensive" market research to ask a "diverse group of local cultural, government and educational leaders to gauge their feelings about the brewery and the name."

She recognized in her statement that the name should be revisited, and no new name has been announced yet.

"We and our partners are committed to once again engaging in conversations with our neighbors, leaders and others to ensure that our brewery continues to be a business and brand our entire community feels represents them well and that they are proud to have as part of our culture," Benson said.