NGN INVESTIGATES: Is the Louisiana state flag the next one to change?

Is the Louisiana state flag the next to change? New Orleans news - Neutral Ground News - Louisiana newsEric Shin

Have you looked at the Louisiana state flag lately? Did you see anything unusual? If not, some local researchers say you may want to take another look.

The Historical Association of New Orleans Society (THANOS) began intensely scrutinizing the Louisiana state flag for anything “off” after neighboring Mississippi recently voted to remove the Confederate emblem from its own state flag.

Louisiana state flag - Louisiana news - New Orleans news - Neutral Ground NewsMembers of THANOS say they came to the undeniable conclusion that Louisiana’s state flag is hiding oppression in plain sight. describes the flag displaying “a white pelican nurturing its young by tearing at its own breast (signified by three drops of blood), with a white banner below containing the state motto in blue letters (Union, Justice, and Confidence); all on a field of blue.” Still don’t see any issues?

THANOS President Dr. Marcellus Clay says the design isn’t necessarily the issue even though it does evoke Christian symbolism and that is a discussion for another day; the choice of what is used for representation is what’s troubling.

“Let me ask you this — what’s the official state bird of Louisiana?” Dr. Clay said. “It’s a brown pelican. Why is a white pelican on the flag when a brown pelican clearly should be there?”

“The first flag featuring a pelican was used unofficially in 1861. A new design was created and used from 1912 to 2006. The flag was again redesigned in 2006 and used through 2010 when the current design was revealed at a state swearing-in ceremony.” –

“It [design] was first developed during the Civil War, so is it any surprise they chose a white pelican to stand-in for a brown pelican?” Dr. Clay said. “If you haven’t ever seen anything wrong with the wrong bird being there, then ask yourself why. Hell, here we are fighting for our own rights when our brown brother the state bird can’t even get equality.”

The Neutral Ground News Research, Cocktails, and Car Parts Department searched state archives for when the first flag design was initially introduced to government officials in 1861 for any clues to the decision for the white pelican being used.

The particular mother bird shown on the initial flag design and then carried over onto all subsequent designs including the current one is based on a controversial white pelican named Patty Rebecca Karenson that lived from 1803-1812 in New Orleans.

After scouring state archives, Neutral Ground News was able to find Ms. Karenson’s voting record as well as her weekly schedule.

According to those records, Ms. Karenson did not cast a vote in favor of abolishing slavery when the issue arose as Louisiana achieved statehood in 1812. Though she did not cast a vote of any kind because she is a bird, critics say she had the opportunity to take a stand and did not, making her complicit.

“Right is right and wrong is wrong, and no matter the species,” Dr. Clay said.

Ms. Karenson allegedly also spent time drinking and eating oysters near the home of New Orleans socialite and prominent Confederate supporter Ana Lee, sixth cousin to General Robert E. Lee, as well as crafting a nest that suspiciously could be construed as a pattern possibly reminiscent of the Confederacy’s “stars and bars” symbol.

“Ms. Karenson is a white pelican, our state bird is a brown pelican, and, simply put, that’s at odds with reality,” Dr. Clay said.

After Mississippi, is the Louisiana state flag the next to change? New Orleans news - Neutral Ground News - Louisiana news

A file photo from 1860 of Ms. Patty Rebecca Karenson, the white pelican on whom the Louisiana state flag is based. She lived a controversial life that lately has put her at odds with modern, progressive society

The THANOS report has drawn attention from local brown pelican activists, including New Orleans Pelicans mascot and brown pelican spokesbird Pierre the Pelican, who have called for advocates to take down any Louisiana flag bearing the wrong state bird.

Yesterday, four dozen heavily armed New Orleans Police officers surrounded the Louisiana state flag pole at Lakeview harbor after a highly concerned bystander called 911 to report a brown pelican flying “suspiciously close” to the pole. No arrests or “shoo, shoos” were made.

Neutral Ground News reached out to dozens of state legislators for comment but have yet to hear anything back.

While members of THANOS said that they will continue pressing government officials to officially address the issue, they also noted the group already has former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on board as a supporter who may be able to help get the matter out of the shadows.