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Blake Pontchartrain: Trivial Pursuit, New Orleans style 

The local ‘80s edition of the classic board game

click to enlarge the_new_orleans_edition.jpg

Hey Blake,

There used to be a New Orleans trivia game designed to be played on the Trivial Pursuit game board with its colored pie-shaped pieces. What do you remember about it and do you know if the game may still be purchased?


Dear Tony,

  Since New Orleans trivia is my game, you can imagine I am very familiar with The New Orleans Edition, the 1980s product of which you speak. "The ultimate who, what, where y'at trivia game," is how it was marketed. It sold for $24.99 and was meant to be compatible with the Trivial Pursuit game that was all the rage then. The local version came in a purple box that resembled the box of cards that came with the Trivial Pursuit game and was marketed simply as The New Orleans Edition, presumably not to run afoul of intellectual property lawyers.

  Lawyer and businessman Shea Dixon was the creator. (His father Dave Dixon was the man behind bringing the Saints and Superdome to New Orleans.) "We are 100 percent compatible with Trivial Pursuit," Shea Dixon told The Times-Picayune in December 1984. "We are protected by a disclaimer on each box that tells the purchaser that the game was not produced by Trivial Pursuit. So long as that aspect is legally clear, we don't have any problems."

  There were some 3,000 questions included on the cards for The New Orleans Edition, in six categories: geography, entertainment, history, lagniappe, food/Mardi Gras and sports. In addition to Dixon, question writers included sports columnist Peter Finney and music and arts writer Jason Berry. Here are a few questions: On which hip is the sword on Robert E. Lee's statue? (left); Who is the "Appliance Giant?" (Tony Campo); and Where did Ignatius Reilly meet his mother at the beginning of his novel? (under the clock at D.H. Holmes).

  In the 1980s the game was sold at D.H. Holmes, Jax Brewery, by mail and at local book and gift stores. Nowadays, copies sometimes turn up in secondhand stores, flea markets and on eBay.

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