The pirate flag hanging in the New Orleans Advocate's office in downtown is something of an inside joke – a hammy reminder of the startup paper's unlikely insurgency against its entrenched competitor, The Times-Picayune.

Other symbols of the year-old paper's inchoate status are of the more banal variety – the unkempt entrance, desks crammed into an office no bigger than a McMansion living room, one unisex restroom serving the entire staff.

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