NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ When Berke Breathed, creator of the comic strip ''Bloom County,'' visited New Orleans for the American Booksellers Association convention, he picked up a Sunday newspaper, saw the name and ''thought it must be the darned strangest thing I ever saw.''

The newspaper is named The Times-Picayune. Now Breathed is lampooning the name by renaming The Bloom Beacon, the strip's muckraking rag, as The Bloom Picayune.

''Any newspaper that has the gumption to call itself Picayune and take itself seriously deserves this,'' Breathed said in Tuesday's editions of The Times-Picayune. He said he had never heard of the small Spanish coin that gave the paper its name.

Breathed said isn't sure how how the change will be explained in the strip. ''I never think that far in advance.''

But he told the New Orleans paper, ''One scenario has The Bloom Beacon being bought by socialist owners and it would be called something like 'The People's Picayune,' '' Breathed said. ''It would sort of be Bloom County's version of Pravda.''

''But that wouldn't reflect too well on your paper, would it?''

---

NEW YORK (AP) - Susan Saint James, a star of the CBS-TV show ''Kate & Allie,'' gave birth Tuesday to a son, William James Ebersol, at the same hospital in Torrington, Conn., where her husband and their first son were born.

The actress' husband, Dick Ebersol, executive producer of ''Friday Night Videos'' on NBC, said the child would be the last for him and his 40-year-old wife.

The baby was born at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital at 1:37 a.m. and weighed 8 pounds 7 ounces, said Lee Fryd, speaking for Ebersol.

The couple's son Charles was born there in December 1982 and Ebersol was born there in 1947.

Ms. Saint James had two other children before her marriage to Ebersol, a girl, now 14, and a boy, 12.

---

HONG KONG (AP) - Queen Elizabeth II of Britain received a rousing welcome when she sailed aboard the royal yacht Britannia Tuesday into Hong Kong's Victoria harbor.

A nearly mile-long flotilla of welcoming boats halted the busy harbor traffic, and cheering, clapping crowds gathered wherever the 60-year-old monarch went in the British colony of 5.5 million people.

Welcoming ceremonies ranged from the high-tech to the traditional.

At the construction site of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, the queen laid the marble cornerstone by pushing a button to lower it into position. Nearby, she saw an exhibition of Hong Kong products, from a memory system for the U.S. space shuttle to talking dolls.

The queen concluded the first day of her visit by watching a spectacular show featuring more than 6,000 youths in perofrmances including traditional dances and kung fu martial arts.

---

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - Kristin Leigh Harris, a 17-year-old soccer buff and a hospital volunteer, was named Tuesday to be queen of the 98th Tournament of Roses.

The Arcadia High School senior, a native of San Gabriel, plans a career in business management or fashion design, and besides soccer, her hobbies include skiing, dancing, sewing and softball.

---

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Singer Bobby Helms will donate his first guitar, a guitar strap, a stage costume and photographs from his show business career next Monday to the Country Music Foundation.

Helms, 51, of Plainfield, Ind., is best known for his hits ''Jingle Bell Rock,'' ''Fraulein'' and ''My Special Angel,'' all recorded 30 years ago.

The foundation operates the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, which displays instruments and costumes donated by several performers.