Louisiana is the Pelican State. This image, on our state flag and seal, is a stark and sober reminder of our duty in difficult times such as these. The pelican of legend gives her life-blood to sustain her little ones in time of famine.

Our ancestors in Louisiana have left us an awesome challenge in this beautiful symbol. Lest we overlook the reference to the pelican giving of her blood, the Louisiana Revised Statutes remind us, “The design of the flag depicting the pelican tearing at its breast to feed its young shall include an appropriate display of three drops of blood.” The secretary of state website specifies: “For positioning purposes, the center of crest is the center of the triangle formed by three drops of blood.”

Louisiana is home to various ethnic groups, all of which exhibit a strong concern for family. We are concerned for our children, the elderly and those who are sick. These are our little ones.

All of us have family and friends in generations past who modeled this love for others in their self-sacrificing lives. We have seen this concern for the little ones on the local and state levels by our elected officials, government workers, taxpayers and voters, and all who give of themselves in service to others. Examples include our schools and colleges, the charity hospital system in years past and public health units in the various parishes.

Today, the needs are great, but money is tight. In generations past, we depended on revenue from oil and gas to provide extra cash. This cash source has been erratic, dependent as it is on political events in foreign countries. Will programs that aid our little ones be dictated by foreign politicians?

We are in the midst of a state financial struggle to provide a future of hope for our little ones. Even if our breasts be pierced to the point of blood by taxes, work or the loss of cherished programs, we must provide for our children, the elderly, the sick and those who work for their daily bread.

To all who read this, I thank you for your generosity and hard work on behalf of our state. I ask prayers for our legislators as they meet now in special session on fiscal matters.

Herbert de Launay

retreat worker

Natchitoches