In 1912, one hundred years after attaining state status, the legislature of Louisiana adopted its official state flag, featuring an image of a mother pelican feeding her three babies in their nest. The symbol of the pelican family has its origins in the earliest days of Louisiana’s settlement. Legend has it that the state’s first residents were impressed with the way the mother pelicans would peck at their own breasts until they bled to provide nourishment for their young when food sources were scarce. Even though the symbolism of the blood being shed indicated the sacrifices of the people of the state, often the blood drops were absent or the number of drops of blood was inconsistent in many of the official and historical illustrations.
After the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a bill was enacted by the state legislature to specify that “three drops of blood” appear on the mother pelican’s breast. That law was suggested and promoted by an eighth grade student from Houma, LA, who had noticed inconsistencies in various images and flags he had seen.
In 2009, two citizens of the state volunteered to create and donate the artwork to meet the letter of the new law, as well as preserve the nearly 200-year tradition and history of the pelican image on the state’s official seal and flag. On November 11, 2010, the Secretary of State of Louisiana accepted the artwork and unveiled the new flag. Annin was proud to be the company selected to create that new, official flag of Louisiana.