New Alternative Debuts in Baton Rouge

Gambit Weekly Owners Go Start-Up Route After Deal to Buy Monthly Collapses.

Louisiana is a happening place this February. There’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans and, towards the end of the month, taking place in Baton Rouge are festivities of another sort: the launch of a new alternative newspaper.

Gambit Weekly Baton Rouge starts its run in Louisiana’s capital city on Feb. 25. The 25,000 circulation upstart is the brainchild of Clancy and Margo DuBos — the husband and wife team behind New Orleans’ Gambit Weekly.

The Gambit spin-off isn’t exactly what the couple originally had envisioned. After all, less than six months ago they announced that they were buying a Baton Rouge paper called Gris-Gris, with the intention of turning the 22,000-circulation monthly into an alternative weekly. However, Clancy DuBos says the deal was nixed when due diligence “showed us that the prudent way to proceed was to start a paper using the Gambit Weekly name.”

Moving into the 600,000-population market — located 80 miles north of New Orleans — has to be handled delicately, DuBos says. He and his wife don’t want locals thinking this was a case of uppity big city folks coming in to “show the people of Baton Rouge how its done.”

Says DuBos: “People in rest of the state don’t like New Orleans. We didn’t want to come in and offend anybody. But [as we learned more about the market], we found out that Gambit Weekly has a good name in Baton Rouge.”

Gambit Weekly Baton Rouge has three full-time editorial staffers, along with four regular columnists and a handful of freelancers, according to DuBos. The production and sales staffs are also based in Baton Rouge. DuBos says the upstart newsweekly will compete against Venue, a monthly entertainment tabloid, and Capital City Now, a 60,000-circulation weekly that’s been rumored to debut any day now.

“People are wildly enthusiastic about having a Gambit Weekly in Baton Rouge,” he says.