Published: Tuesday, November 23, 2010, 5:56 AM Updated: Tuesday, November 23, 2010, 8:41 PM
Ed Anderson, The Times-Picayune A new state flag, featuring a more angular pelican tearing its bleeding breast to feed its young, was unveiled Monday during the swearing-in ceremonies of two state officials.
The new design was required by a bill passed during the 2006 legislative session based on the historical research of a Houma student, which indicated the existing pelican seal did not have the bird tearing at its breast.
The flag's design is similar to the existing flag but the brown pelican, the state bird, is more sophisticated and has three red drops of blood flowing from its breast, said Jacques Berry, chief spokesman for Secretary of State Tom Schedler's office.
The new design was required by a bill passed by Rep. Damon Baldone, D-Houma, during the 2006 legislative session based on the historical research of Joseph Louviere, a Houma student, which indicated the existing pelican seal did not have the bird tearing at its breast.
Historical descriptions of the blue flag include the three drops of blood, described as a sign of the state's willingness to sacrifice itself for its citizens. The design goes back to medieval times, when people believed pelicans fed chicks with their blood.
Unveiling the new flag took place at the conclusion of the dual inaugurations of Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, who had been secretary of state; and Schedler, who served as Dardenne's first assistant and was sworn in as secretary of state.
Berry said that the secretary of state's office, which is charged with keeping the state seal, will order about 25 new flags at first for use by the office, its museums and the State Archives Building.
He said he will notify the state agencies that the new flags are available, but each department or board will need to order them on its own.
It will be up to the individual agency to decide when to order the new flags and how many to order, Berry said.
As a result, new letterheads bearing the new symbol will also be reordered, Berry said, but probably as existing stock dwindles and has to be replaced.
The 2006 law requires the depiction of the pelican "tearing its breast to feed its young" to include "an appropriate display of three droops of blood."
Ed Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 225.342.5810.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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