The Fleur de Lis. A symbol that brings to mind French history, Louisiana, New Orleans, or perhaps the Saints. While French heavily influences the history of the Fleur de Lis, there is a deeper history with darker connotations that many are unaware of. The Fleur is one of the most enduring symbols in history.
One of the most ancient explanations and histories of the Fleur date back to the ancient Egyptians, where the Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt came together and their symbols became the Fleur de Lis. The Egyptian history of the fleur is explained in detail in our director, Casey Delmont Johnson’s book The Fleur of The Nile.
After the French claimed the Fleur de Lis, it began to be adopted by many other countries and cultures. It came to the New World with explorers as a symbol of power. As a way to flaunt their power and status, wealthy slave owners displayed the Fleur around their homes to mark their wealth, and eventually began to burn the Fleur de Lis onto their slaves. The Fleur did not allow for this dark meaning to take hold, and it was soon adopted by the lower classes as a symbol of resilience. After Hurricane Katrina an emergence of the fleur was seen in the grassroots movements of the rebuilding of New Orleans.
Today the fleur-de-lis is associated with hospitality, hope, and resilience. It isn’t a symbol just for France or Louisiana, as its history has shown; it is a symbol for the world.