A Walker native claims to have decoded the fleur-de-lis in a new book on the symbol. Intrigued by the vast and oft disputed history that is traditionally accounted to the fleur, Casey Delmont Johnson felt compelled to offer a new narrative. As designer for Roux Brands in Port Allen, Mr. Johnson works with the symbol on a daily basis. “After designing products with the fleur de lis for so long, eventually an aspect of the symbol struck me as foreign” Johnson said, “the symbol seemed to contain a mystery element, and hidden in this element is an ancient heritage.” Johnson’s discovery claims to associate the fleur de lis with civilizations much older than that of France. If correct, the history of the fleur de lis will have to be rewritten.
Every fleur de lis contains a clasp or gathering towards the center. Its denoted by a bold horizontal line. “Most people overlook this aspect of the symbol entirely,” Johnson says, “and the French history of the icon simply does not provide an adequate explanation for this central element.” Johnson claims that the clasp, noted in every fleur de lis, is a remnant from ancient human history. He believes that as far back as 30,000 years ago and longer, people were using a primitive, natural form of the fleur de lis in their daily lives. If proved correct, this new narrative would make the fleur de lis the oldest continuously used symbol in human history.
There are clues to this ancient heritage hidden within the capitol city. Even the Louisiana state capitol building references some of this lost history. “Huey Long’s architect was certain to include peculiar elements within the grand monument in downtown Baton Rouge” Johnson says, “if you look close enough, and sit at the right height, you’ll discover more.” Casey believes that the capitol was built at a peculiar height, for a peculiar reason. “The book unravels some of the meaning built into the building,” Johnson said. These things are hidden in plain sight, but contain vast arrays of layered meaning.
Johnson requested a formal essay by Dr. Darius Spieth of LSU’s Art History department to provide some credibility to his book. “I wanted to include someone capable of writing an essay on the fleur de lis that was neutral and well within mainstream thought” Johnson said. The essay is included in the book and entitled A symbol between Legend and History. “Dr. Spieth’s essay captures the mystery of the fleur in a unique way” Johnson said.
Rivers, ironically, play a crucial role in the narrative of the book. “Remaking the Fleur de lis was finished in the midst of the recent flood” Johnson says, “whether the Nile, the Mississippi or the Amite, the theme of river prevailed throughout the project.” Johnson believes that the idea of parallel rivers is an important one. “The book is a symbol of the flood to me, the fleur reminds us of our own resilience. It is a powerful symbol that reflects a part of us.”
The official book launch of Fleur of the Nile: Remaking the Fleur de lis is October 22nd. Its available now at Amazon.com and is for wholesale purchase at RouxBrands.com. For more information on the up and coming Roux Brands, visit their website.