BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — “Union, Justice and Confidence” has been Louisiana’s motto for more than a century. But that would change if a state lawmaker gets his way.
A bill from state Rep. Richard Nelson (R-Mandeville) would change the state motto to “We live and die for those we love.”
“It reflects who we are as a people,” Nelson said in an interview Tuesday. “It’s a big opportunity to examine where we are and where we want to be.”
The proposed motto may look familiar to some Louisianians. A banner with the phrase “I live and die for those I love” adorns state law licenses, while the words “We live for those we love” are etched on a corner of the Louisiana State Capitol.
Nelson — who holds a law license and spotted the engraving upon taking office in 2020 — likened the sacrifices made during the COVID-19 pandemic and recent hurricanes to what Louisiana’s state flag portrays: a mother pelican feeding her chicks her own blood.
“This last year has really called people to do something greater, and what I’m proposing as the new motto really speaks to that,” he said. “Everybody in the country knows New Hampshire’s motto: ‘Live free or die.’ I think we can be on that same tier.”
The legislation would also change Louisiana’s flag (to reflect the proposed motto), though state agencies would still be allowed to fly their old flags.
A state House judiciary panel will consider Nelson’s bill when lawmakers start their annual session in April.