Special Collections Hosts Talk About Louisiana’s New Flag

November 29th, 2010 by Elaine Smyth

On Monday, December 6, Glen Duncan will give an illustrated talk on “A Modern History of the Louisiana Pelican Flag;  or, a Tale of the Surprisingly Difficult Quest for the Official State Flag” in the Hill Memorial Library lecture hall on the LSU campus at 12 noon.  The event is free and the public is invited. 

Duncan became interested in the history of the flag after seeing news reports in 2006 about a young man from Houma, D. Joseph Louviere, whose work on an eighth grade social studies assignment led to his discovery that the Louisiana state flag then being flown was inaccurate in design.   A bill was passed during the 2006 legislative session to remedy the problem, but in 2009, Duncan found that a new design had yet to be put in place. 

As a “citizen volunteer,”  Duncan found the task of figuring out the flag’s design to be surprisingly complicated.   The Louisiana flag is one of the most distinctive flags in the Union, featuring a white, spread-winged pelican against a vivid blue background.  But the details of the design — how many chicks, and the presence of drops of blood symbolizing the state’s service to its citizens — varied widely. As Duncan and his friend, artist Curtis Vann, discovered, no single image could claim recognition as the state flag. Duncan’s talk will reveal the historical research – some of it conducted in the LSU Libraries’ Special Collections – and modern-day work that went into developing the new flag that was unveiled on November  22, at the swearing in of Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne.

Duncan is currently Director of Communications at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge.  A graduate of Duke University, with a Master’s from the University of Georgia, Duncan started his career as an exploration geologist for Amoco Production Company in New Orleans.  He left Amoco to head up a volunteer water drilling project in a drought area of Zimbabwe, Africa and later earned a Master’s in Journalism from LSU. He reported for several newspapers and WVLA-TV before landing at WBRZ-TV (ABC affiliate) as an award-winning environmental reporter and meteorologist.  Moving behind the camera, Duncan headed up his own public relations and video production corporation, creating projects for local, state and national clients, including major corporations in Louisiana, LSU Baseball, Fox Sports South, The Discovery Channel and the History Channel.  Later, as director of Communications for Medicare’s quality improvement organization, he created and trademarked HealthWire, a weekly statewide radio broadcast.  Duncan recently received the Professional Achievement Award, the highest professional award granted by the four-state Southern Public Relations Federation for career accomplishments.

Attendees are welcome to bring their lunches. Beverages and cookies will be provided, courtesy of the staff of Special Collections.  Parking for off-campus visitors is available at the Visitors Center on the corner of Highland and Dalrymple, three blocks from the library.

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