Tuesday, November 23, 2010


New Louisiana Flag Design
By Mike Jones

The redesigned Louisiana state flag was unveiled at the swearing in ceremony Monday, Nov. 22, for new Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne. The basic design is the same, a pelican feeding her young on a blue field, with the motto, "Union, Justice, Confidence" on a white banner underneath. The difference is the pelican is much better drawn and there are three drops of blood coming off her breast. The redesign is a winner, in my opinion. The pelican on the old flag was downright cartoonish looking. It also didn't have the blood drops, which have important symbolic meaning.

The changes were mandated by the Legislature in 2006, at the insistence of a bright 8th grader who knew his history.

The symbolism of the pelican feeding her young is self-sacrifice, which is also a very ancient Christian symbol of Christ the Redeemer. The flag has been representing Louisiana since its territorial days from 1803 to 1812 when the state was first admitted to the Union. The symbol was also used on state militia buttons, belt plates and cartridge box plates, as well as on the official state seal. As deeply ingrained as it was in state culture, it wasn't until 1902 that the Legislature officially adopted it as the state flag.

When Louisiana seceded from the Union on Jan. 26, 1861, the Louisiana pelican flag was raised over the state capitol building. Although a unique red, white and blue striped flag, with gold star in the red canton, was adopted to represent the independence of Louisiana, the pelican flag was found flying over the state capitol by Northern invaders who captured Baton Rouge in May of 1862. In addition, many Louisiana military units used pelican flags at the beginning of the War For Southern Independence.

The Louisiana pelican flag continues to honorably symbolize the sovereign status of our state.

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