The flag of Louisiana consists of a heraldic charge called a "pelican in her piety," representing a mother pelican wounding her breast to feed her young from the blood. This symbol, emblematic of Christian charity, is also found on the state seal. On the flag it is depicted above a ribbon with the state motto: "Union, Justice, and Confidence". The current flag was adopted in 2006, revising the original pelican design of 1912.

During the 19th century it was traditional in Louisiana flags and the state seal for the "pelican in her piety" to have three drops of blood on her chest. However, in later years the tradition (on both the state flag and seal) had been haphazardly followed, which was noticed by an eighth-grader at Vandebilt Catholic High School in Houma who brought this to the attention of his state legislator. The issue was resolved in April 2006, when the Louisiana State Legislature passed a bill (House Bill 833/Act 92) which requires three drops of blood to be depicted on the pelican used in both the state's flag and seal. The new state flag, featuring a new design, was recently unveiled during swearing-in ceremonies of new state officials.

Historical Flags[edit | edit source]

Proposals for a New Flag of Louisiana[edit | edit source]

Shown below are various flag designs that have been proposed for Louisiana.

Common symbolism[edit | edit source]

Fleur-de-lis[edit | edit source]

Gold fleur-de-lis

The fleur-de-lis is a very common heraldic symbol, but it is most well-known as a symbol of France, especially the Kingdom of France before the transition to a republic. It appears in many flags and other symbols in North America to represent French heritage; for example, the provincial flag of Quebec and the flags of the cities of St. Louis, Missouri and New Orleans, Louisiana.

Louisiana was part of the French colony of the same name, which spread over a much larger part of North America and was sold to the US in 1803. The state remains one of few that have French as second most spoken language, together with three New England states, and is home to the francophone region of Acadiana.

Besides the fleur-de-lis, the current flag of France (a vertical triband of blue, white and red) is also sometimes used or referred to in designs.

Spanish flags[edit | edit source]

Cross of Burgundy

Besides France, greater Louisiana has been a territory of Spain for a few decades. Spain had ruled in parts of the current area of Louisiana previously. Several designs symbolize Louisiana having been a colony of both, representing Spain by the Cross of Burgundy (then used by Spain as its military flag), the castle and lion of Castile and León, or the red and yellow from the current flag of Spain.

United States
States and federal district


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