I cannot find any images online of our flag, which I feel adds to my point that a bland flag is forgettable and does not represent the parish as well as it could be.

My name is Gordon Crawford. I am 12 years old and have lived in Ascension Parish for a majority of my life. I love this parish. My family has had a presence in Ascension Parish for well over 100 years. My grandfather, for which I get my name, has practiced law in this parish since 1964. He is also one of the founders and the last remaining charter member of the Rotary Club of Gonzales, which has aided the community for 50 years. My family has very deep roots in this parish and has for many years, which is only one of the reasons I feel immense pride towards this parish as my home. One of my hobbies is vexillology, which is the study of flags. I am part of numerous online communities towards creating and even changing flags. This is the subject of my letter.

Ascension Parish is one of the most historically significant parishes in the whole of the state of Louisiana. We were the first place in the United States to elect an African American citizen to serve as a mayor, Pierre Caliste Landry. After being born into slavery, he served as mayor of Donaldsonville and continued to lead a career of service to the government of Louisiana until his death. We are the home of Houmas House, one of the most iconic plantations in the entirety of Southern United States. Houmas House was at one point an integral part of the largest sugar empire in the United States. It is now used frequently as the site for hundreds of different films and television shows. We are also the home of Fort Butler, site of a large civil war battle. One of our most significant events is the state famous Jambalaya Festival, adding to the Gonzales nickname “Jambalaya Capital of the World.” We are also blessed with a rich ecosystem, with Ascension Parish having numerous different marshes and bayous, making us a “Sportsman’s Paradise,” a motto of Louisiana. The point I am insinuating is that Ascension Parish is a historical and culturally significant parish in Louisiana which deserves a better symbol to represent it.

The current flag of Ascension Parish consists of the seal of the parish on a white background. I cannot find any images online of our flag, which I feel adds to my point that a bland flag is forgettable and does not represent the parish as well as it could be. There are five general rules of flag design as told by Ted Kaye, an active and vocal member of NAVA, the North American Vexillological Association. His published 14 page pamphlet entitled “Good Flag, Bad Flag” has been a tool utilized by Vexillologists in general flag design. The five rules of flag design are as follows:

1. Keep it simple. A child should be able to draw it from memory.

2. Use meaningful symbolism. A flag’s colors and shapes should always be relevant to what it represents.

3. Use 2 to 3 basic colors. A fluid rule, but a general rule of thumb. Be sure to use colors that work well and contrast together.

4. No lettering or seals. The rule our flag breaks. Seals are made to be on stationary objects, while lettering cannot be read at a distance while waving in the wind.

5. Be distinctive or related. A unique flag sets itself apart from its surroundings, and represents a group or people to it’s peak point.

Reading this, it becomes clear that our flag is almost painfully bland, especially when set in with our fellow parishes. Bienville and Bossier Parish are some of the most popular flags among the vexillological community due to their poor quality. However, I argue that even though those flags are conventionally bad, they are remembered more and stick in a person’s head. This is why I believe that if we can get a good flag that is memorable, we will set ourselves apart from the majority of the larger Louisiana communities and further highlight our wonderful aspects.

My design consists of a diagonal tricolor of green, white, and blue. Three red stars are organized in the white stripe and a white illustration of a pot of Jambalaya over a fire pit sits in the top left canton of the flag. The green on the flag represents our diverse ecosystem, which also includes our parish’s ability to be a leading figure in Louisiana agriculture. The white stripe represents the pelican, symbolizing our unity under the state of Louisiana. The three red stars represent the drops of blood fed from the pelican mother to her young, an iconic symbol of Louisiana and representing Union, Justice and Confidence, the motto of Louisiana. The blue represents the Mississippi River, on which Donaldsonville sits and therefore also represents the industrial and production strength of Ascension Parish as a whole. The Jambalaya pot, as is evident, represents the strong culture of Ascension Parish and its association with Jambalaya, with our largest city Gonzales being the “Jambalaya Capital of the World.” The Jambalaya pot is already a very popular symbol, with many businesses choosing to have murals painted on their walls with the Jambalaya pot front and center. In this, I wanted to create a symbol that is easily remembered and iconic. Something along the lines of Canada’s Maple leaf or Argentina’s sun.

In conclusion, I urge the government of Ascension Parish, Louisiana, to adopt this design. I have spent over 2 months getting a large amount of consensus and design help from over 20 different members from the vexillological community, artist friends, and a general crowd. I feel a flag will symbolize unity in the community and give something the community can use as a banner to carry on in the prosperity of the future. The American flag was adopted on June 14, 1777 and is still in use to this day. The design ecompasses the values shown by our great nation, liberty and freedom. That is what a good design can do.

I do not wish for the seal to be removed from any government documents or municipal structures. A seal has its place on stationary objects.

Important links:

https://portlandflag.org/good-flag-bad-flag/ Good Flag, Bad Flag by Ted Kaye

Gordon Crawford

Student

Gonzales, La.