Louisiana is another state with a seal-on-blue design, one unique because of the four pelicans, but otherwise unremarkable. It went through only a few minor changes for much of its 20th century history and looked like this:
However, back in 2010, the state decided to correct decades of haphazardly following their own flag guidelines and updated it:
This flag has one of the more realistic images I've ever seen (on a flag, anyway). Compared to the previous versions, this one looks like the birds were painted by James Audubon. As much as I like the detailed and biologically accurate pelicans, they go against the basic idea of flag simplicity. Louisiana's is more recognizable than most of the other seal and blue flags, but that isn't good enough, especially when the state has a really awesome design in its past:
This is the flag of the Republic of Louisiana, a country that existed during the brief period between the state's secession from the United States in January, 1861 and its joining the Confederate States a few weeks later. It was never recognized by any foreign governments, but it had a great flag. This flag was used through the Civil War, alongside an early form of the pelican banner. Sadly for me, this design has already been proposed as a replacement at another blog, so I'll have to come up with something on my own.
My first idea was to simplify the pelican design, removing most of the detail of the nest and wings, as well as the banner, and enlarging the birds. I used the version from the pre-2010 flag because the earlier, more cartoony design was easier to alter without losing the basic idea. The symbolism of the pelican is well suited to the Pelican State, and the "pelican in her piety" imagry dates back to the Middle Ages in Europe, where it was thought the pelican was such a good mother that she would make herself bleed to feed her hatchlings. An image with a history that rich is too good to discard.
That design was ok, but from a distance, it would be virtually indistinguishable from either the current flag or the flags of several other states; it would just be a big white splotch on a blue background. The solution I eventually came to was this:
I've made the pelicans a little smaller and moved them to the upper-left corner, similar to Nevada's flag. I used the shade of blue from the current flag, but it was kind of boring with a mostly empty blue field. Thus the red stripe on the right. The red doesn't have any particular significance, though I suppose it could be reminiscent of the Third National Flag of the Confederacy, but I just chose it because I thought it looked good. If Tennessee can have a stripe with no specific meaning, I don't see why Louisiana can't as well.