Dr. Thomas J. Arceneaux designed the
Louisiana Acadian Flag to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Acadian
exile into Louisiana and to remind us of other important influences on
Acadians. Arceneaux, a native of Carencro, La., is a life-long supporter of
English-French bilingual education in Louisiana Schools and was a charter
member of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL).
He is the former Dean of Agriculture (1941-1973) at the University of
Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette and was one of the early leaders of the
Louisiana French renaissance movement that revived interest and pride in the
Description of the Acadian flag:
Three silver fleurs de lis on a blue
field represent the French origin of the Acadians. The fleurs de lis is a
symbol of the kings of France.
When the Acadians arrived in Louisiana, it was under Spanish rule. Since the
Acadians prospered in Louisiana after years of exile, a portion of the flag
pays homage to Spain with a gold tower on a red field representing the Old
Arms of Castile, a prosperous European Spanish kingdom.
The gold star on a white field represents "Our Lady of the Assumption",
Patroness of the Acadians. When the first settlers departed France for the
New World, the Virgin Mary was highly revered. It was a period of great
devotion to the Virgin. The King of France, Louis XIII, declared Mary the Patronne de Royaume - "Patroness of the Kingdom" - and, on August 15, 1638, France and her colonies were consecrated to Mary under the title "Our Lady of the Assumption." In 1938, Pope Pius XI
solemnly proclaimed "Our Lady of the Assumption" as the patroness of all Acadians - those in Canada as well as those in Louisiana and elsewhere.
The star also symbolizes the active participation of the Acadians in the
American Revolution as soldiers under Spanish Governor Galvez. Shortly after
the arrival of the displaced Acadians in the Spanish territory of Louisiana,
the American colonies started their struggle for independence. Spain decided
to champion the cause of the 13 American colonies in their revolution
against England. The
Acadians chose to serve under Galvez, the Governor of Spanish Louisiana, and
they actively participated in the battles of Manchac, Baton Rouge, Mobile
and Pensacola, which were all very important and decisive victories that
contributed to the successful conclusion of the American Revolution.
Since the Acadians were citizens of Spain at the time of the American
Revolution, their star could not appear on the first American flag. Thus,
the gold star on the Louisiana Acadian Flag serves as a reminder of
Louisiana's participation in the American Revolution and the significant
contributions of the Louisiana Acadians during the struggle for the
beginning of a new nation.