Louisiana Vexilology


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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11 Responses

  1. Avatar North says:

    This instantly made me think of this website:
    Which is great fun and relatively fair in my opinion.Report

  2. Avatar J_A says:

    You are ignoring, or greaty glossing over, that since medieval times the pelican carries great symbolism by itself

    In medieval Europe, the pelican was thought to be particularly attentive to her young, to the point of providing her own blood by wounding her own breast when no other food was available. As a result, the pelican came to symbolise the Passion of Jesus and the Eucharist, and usurped the image of the lamb and the flag. A reference to this mythical characteristic is contained for example in the hymn by Saint Thomas Aquinas, “Adoro te devote” or “Humbly We Adore Thee”, where in the penultimate verse he describes Christ as the “loving divine pelican, able to provide nourishment from his breast”.Elizabeth I of England adopted the symbol, portraying herself as the “mother of the Church of England”. Do observe that the Louisiana pelican is indeed feeding its blood to its young.

    So it’s not that they just put the state bird in the flag and that was all. Louisiana’s flag claims that the state is the mother of its peoples.

    As an aside, it used to be in the past that [cultured] people were able to understand all kinds of symbolisms in altar paintings, flags, portraits, and even flowers. It’s a pity that we have lost that sensibility.Report

    • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to J_A says:

      Yes, there is also the Catholic element to the pelican symbol that suits Louisiana.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to J_A says:

      You make me sad to write this, though in a way you couldn’t possibly have anticipated. My mother was very good at exactly this art, and she enjoyed going to museums and interpreting all of these kinds of embedded symbols in the art, especially from Renaissance Italy, to my never-ending amazement. She would have been seventy years old today and it’s weird how sometimes reminders like that just pop up out of nowhere.

      That’s way more than you wanted to have laid down with your observation, I know; point being, I’m sure mom would have known this about the pelican although if she ever told me my mind was probably still reeling from all the rest of what was on offer. It’s a good memory, and I thank you for rekindling it.Report

  3. Avatar J_A says:

    I wonder how many here understand the reference of the tower in the lower half of the Acadiana flag?

    Spain, who ruled Louisiana 1762-1802Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to J_A says:

      I did understand the castle! One of the other intrastate regions is West Florida, which is a different part of its Spanish history. The West Florida (Bonnie Blue) flag is close to the informal flag of the fictional state of Deltona in Trumanverse.

      The significance of the Pelican is interesting, though not sufficient to overturn my opinion of the flag as a whole. Could be incorporated into a better flag, though.Report

  4. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Love it or hate it, Looseean has personality. I spent a lot of time there as a kid – I loved parts of it, hated others – but they gots character.Report

  5. A wonderful bird is the pelican,
    His bill will hold more than his belican,
    He can take in his beak
    Enough food for a week
    But I’m damned if I see how the helican!

    — Dixon Lanier MerrittReport

  6. Avatar WIll H. says:

    You see the fleur de lis all over St. Louis as well.
    It’s Italian in origin.
    It comes from the Medici’s.
    Recommended viewing. A fairly accurate representation.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to WIll H. says:

      Well, it’s a symbol of Florence, though not of the Medici particularly. The Medici sigil is a shield with several balls on it, and the family felt no need to be consistent about the number or pattern of those balls over time. The Florentines began using the fleur de lis before the Medici were prominent, but confusingly (for us moderns; I’m sure it made perfect sense back in the day) one proclaimed allegiance to the Guelph or Ghibelline faction by displaying either a white fleur de lis on a red field, or a red fleur de lis on a white field.Report

  7. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    California’s been doing pretty well by its flag recently, too. I rather like our grizzly bear logo and the reference to California’s eight or so days as a nominally independent nation. Although we’ve not had actual grizzly bears in the state for decades now and the independence thing was over before half of the people who lived in California had even heard about it.

    I must in the same breath admit that I’m a bit horrified at what a redesign of the California flag might be, especially if consigned to a committee of some sort. This would have made for a wonderful photoshop contest back in the glory days of FARK.com.

    There’s also some states that do well with their shapes as seen on maps. Texas most prominently, but Louisiana, Florida, California, Alaska, and Wisconsin (that I can think of) all have distinctive map shapes that seem to wind up prominently featured on clothing, product advertisements, and a variety of other regalia.Report