| January 24, 2013

Emprint Publishes A Modern History of the Louisiana Pelican Flag

In recognition of Louisiana’s bicentennial, Emprint of Baton Rouge has published a history of the official, Louisiana, state flag and is donating nearly 2,000 copies to public schools and libraries throughout the state.

Until the late, 19th century, none of the individual states comprising the United States of America had official flags.  Then, in 1893, the states were invited to participate in the World’s Columbian Exposition to be held in Chicago.  Each participating state was asked to adopt a unique flag to be flown at the exposition.  In time, most of these flags were adopted as “official” flags by the individual state legislatures.  However, there were a number of states, Louisiana included that had unofficial flags that lacked government sanctioning. The earliest illustration of the Louisiana Pelican Flag was drawn in 1902 but was never recognized as the official state flag of Louisiana.

In the wake of hurricane Katrina, during the 2006 session, the Louisiana state legislature acknowledged that it was time that an official state flag be adopted by amending state law to ensure that use of all state flags were consistent.  Two Baton Rouge citizens, Glen Duncan and Emprint employee, Curtis Vann, volunteered to research the history of, and develop an official design for, the state flag.

Glen Duncan began researching the flag’s history with the intention to incorporate the traditions and stories surrounding the flag into the official design. It was from this effort, that his book, A Modern History of the Louisiana Pelican Flag, arose.  The particularly interesting design element that varied through the many iterations of the flag’s design was the drops of blood seen on the pelican’s breast.  “Symbolically, the Pelican is wounding itself to feed its young, presumably to depict a state that cares for its citizens,” said Duncan. “I say ‘presumably,’ because we can find no clear reason why our first governor chose this image.”  Using the research of Glen and Curtis, the state legislature amended state law concerning the flag’s design to include, “an appropriate display of three drops of blood,” and subsequently, Curtis Vann incorporated it into the flag’s final design.

Upon the publication of the book, Becky Vance, Emprint’s President and Chief Operating Officer, stated that, “Louisiana’s rich and colorful history has been well documented over the years, however a comprehensive history of the state’s flag, it’s origins, traditions and meaning has been completely lacking until now.  Emprint’s management was thrilled to have the opportunity to publish this book and ensure that Louisiana’s children will, for years to come, know this valuable part of our state’s history.”  She then added, “The pride we take in publishing this book, is only increased by the fact that Curtis Vann, a Emprint employee, was co-designer of the official flag.

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