NOLA News in Brief

Campbell Lutz, Staff Reporter

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Coming off of last week’s announcement that Apple CEO Tim Cook will deliver the 2019 commencement address and looking forward to the annual Krewe du Vieux parade this Saturday, it’s an exciting time to be at Tulane. As these events take place, however, other local news may be passing under the radar. From an alleged copyright infringement involving none other than the freakish King Cake Baby face, to a new take on gun control that is gaining bipartisan support in Louisiana, here are four of New Orleans’ top news stories you may not have heard about.

The creator of the iconic King Cake Baby is suing the movie “Happy Death Day” for half the total profits. The freakish baby face, created in 2009 by Jonathan Bertuccelli, has become a New Orleans cultural icon, making frequent appearances at Mardi Gras parades and Pelicans games. According to Bertuccelli, however, the freakish baby face has made another appearance in pop culture, this time allegedly without the proper legal clearance. Bertuccelli says the face strongly resembles the face of the killer in “Happy Death Day,” a 2017 hit horror movie filmed in part on Loyola New Orleans’ campus. Its sequel, “Happy Death Day 2U,” in theaters on Feb. 13, features the same killer and the same horrifying baby-like mask.

A local baker is celebrating Valentine’s Day with New Orleans slang drizzled on sugar cookies. The cookies are in the shape of hearts, but instead of traditional love phrases like “Be Mine” or “XOXO,” the cookies are covered with uniquely New Orleans phrases like “Be My Trade,” “Say Red,” and the most popular, “You Tryna Yea?” The cookies have already gained widespread attention on social media. According to Daniela Brenes, the owner of Sugar Deaux bakery, however, the cookies are more than a publicity stunt. Brenes said she hopes her new cookies will help lovers celebrate Valentine’s Day in a uniquely New Orleanian way.

Voluntary “do-not-sell” gun Louisiana legislation that aims to prevent suicide has gained bipartisan support. Republican Senator Danny Martiny and Democratic Representative Jimmy Harris agreed to co-sponsor the bill. Known as “Donna’s law,” the bill is named after Katrina Brees’ mother, Donna Nathan, who used a gun to commit suicide. The law will allow Louisiana citizens to place their names on a “do not sell list,” which Brees said she hopes will prevent people from making an impulse decision to purchase a gun and take their own life.

Zulu leaders continue to support the tradition of blackface in the parade amid public scrutiny. Supporters of the use of blackface in the historically black Mardi Gras parade include U.S. Representative Cedric Richmond, a New Orleans Black Democrat who is preparing to release a public statement along with other supporters and the president of the Zulu parade explaining their stance and the history of Zulu. Supporters generally claim blackface is used in the parade as a means of cultural expression rather than racial satire. “The original Zulu parades were a spoof, but more of a spoof of white Mardi Gras,” Mardi Gras historian Errol Laborde said in an interview with The New Orleans Advocate. “That’s where the poking fun was. Poking fun at whites.” Some opponents argue that the tradition of blackface in Zulu has become less reverent toward the original Zulu tribes, especially given the large percentage of attendees who are not black.