History of the Fleur-de-Lis
The Fleur-de-lis. A symbol most Louisianans are familiar with as a decorative piece on porches, wall hangings or clothing.
But have you ever heard the story of how the Fleur-de-lis came to be, and why it made its way into Louisiana?
In French, fleur-de-lis literally means "lily flower". It may come as no surprise that an emblem found all over the state of Louisiana has its roots in a flower from French culture, stemming from the French colonization of the Americas, particularly present day Louisiana.
After an on again, off again relationship to the French flag over a period of several revolutions, the Fleur-de-lis eventually made its way to America with Europeans going to the “New World,” mostly from France. For these French settlers it became a symbol of the home country for their new lives in Louisiana, found on coats of arms and early North American flags to designate areas settled by the French.
The fleur-de-lis appears on the flag of New Orleans, though other regions in Louisiana such as Acadiana, Lafayette and Baton Rouge use the symbol elsewhere. To set things in stone, governor Bobby Jindal signed a bill in 2008, which would make the fleur-de-lis an official symbol of Louisiana. Additionally, ever since the devastating events of Hurricane Katrina, the fleur-de-lis can be seen all over New Orleans, not just on the flag, as a symbol of community support for and solidarity with citizens of New Orleans' to aid in their eventual recovery.
The three petals of the fleur-de-lis symbol can also signify the convergence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, and appears more prominently among original cities settled along the Mississippi, like St. Louis, Mo. or Louisville, Ky.
Some interesting facts about the fleur-de-lis: It has appeared in several literary works such as the American bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code and the French classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Now that you know a little bit about how the fleur-de-lis came to be ingrained in Louisianan culture, see where you spot them in your neighborhood or about town!