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.
Flag of the King and Armed Forces of Spanish Empire, used in the Florida Parishes and Spanish Louisiana.
Flag of Louisiana Ordinance of Secession Convention
Unofficial flag of January 1861
Flag of the Republic of Louisiana (of February 1861 CSA)
Pelican flag of 1861, used concurrently with the Louisiana Republic flag and the 1912 flag
Louisiana State Flag Symplistic Proposal. In 2006 Louisiana’s state legislature passed a bill requiring any depiction of the mother pelican in the state’s flag or seal be accompanied by a depiction of the three drops of blood with which she feeds her young. In my design the white bar on the left represents the mother pelican. The three stars are three drops of blood. The white triangle on the right is the young pelican’s beak. By Ed Mitchell. 2013.