To change, or to not change the flag of Acadiana.
All across Acadiana you can see the flag flying high. But UL Political Science professor Rick Swanson says the Acadiana flag should be more inclusive.
“I’m not replacing the Cajun flag. I want to replace the Acadiana flag, and that’s the problem. The Louisiana legislature in 1974 created this confusion by taking the ethnic flag of the Cajuns and saying it will also be for the region of Acadiana,” Swanson explained.
He wants it to represent not only the region’s French and Spanish history, but also its West African heritage.
“They were brought here primarily as enslaved people and by 1860 a majority of Lafayette Parish was of African descent,” he said.
The flag he proposed includes those heritages while also highlighting the area’s Catholic roots.
“So the three petals of the fleur de lys and the three towers of castle represent the trinity, but to be all inclusive of all religious faiths, the green star represents personal, spiritual or religious faiths of all people,” he said.
And his idea is drawing a variety of responses.
“I say why fix something that’s not broken. Our flag is perfect the way it is,” said one Acadiana local.
For me, you know, I’m of African American descent, so that’s just shouting out to us, you know. It’s changing because it’s not just like– it’s for everybody now so everybody feels a part of Louisiana culture,” said another local.
“I think it’s a good idea to consider all of the cultures that are represented here and I don’t think that the current Acadiana flag does that,” said one Acadiana mother.
“The flag looks great but I feel like they’re making so many changes, if it’s not one thing it’s another,” explained another local.
But this conversation is exactly what Swanson said he intended by the proposal.
“I’m just waiting to see where it goes. I’m really just trying to start a conversation about how we can make our regional symbols more inclusive and historically accurate,” he said.
To see his full presentation click here.