Famous New Orleans Symbols

New Orleans symbols
New Orleans, Louisiana is a city on the southern coast of the United States near the Gulf of Mexico. The city has a rich French and Spanish heritage that influences its culture and architecture. The most well-known symbol of New Orleans is the fleur-de-lis.

What are Some Symbols of New Orleans?

New Orleans has a strong European heritage due to the influence of French and Spanish from the late 17th century to when the US bought Louisiana in 1803. The fleur-de-lis is an early symbol of New Orleans and continues to be prominent in the state. 

The brown pelican is the state bird found on the state seal and flag. The bald cypress is the state tree of New Orleans. The white bloom of the magnolia is the state flower, while strawberries are the state fruit. 

What does the Fleur-de-Lis Symbolize in New Orleans?

New Orleans and fleur-de-lis have a special bond. The symbol entered New Orleans when Nouvelle Orleans, a French explorer, found the land in 1717. It is a commonly found and recognized symbol in New Orleans, Louisiana, representing the French heritage of the land. 

Another interesting point is the presence of multiple variations of the fleur-de-lis in the state. The local artists have been redesigning the symbol in various ways. People mainly use them as decorations on walls, hoardings, name boards, etc. The symbol was used on the 1820’s Mardi Grass Ball invitation. It’s currently on the helmets of football players for the New Orleans Saints. 

The French monarchy adopted the fleur-de-lis symbol when King Philip the First used it as his emblem. By 1600, Henry, King of France and Navarre, used a distinct fleur (stylized lily/ iris) on the flags. It was found on shields, crowns, and the house of bourbon. 

Gradually, the symbol became a representation of royalty. French explorer, Sieur de La Salle landed in the Mississippi Valley in 1682. He named the place Louisiana after French King Louis XIV. The explorer used a white flag with a golden fleur to claim the territory for the French royalty in Orleans. 

Nouvelle Orleans continued the tradition by flying the fluer-de-lis flag when he landed in New Orleans. Even when the Spanish took over the place and later by the United States, the fleur continued to represent New Orleans. It is an integral part of the land and its people. 

New Orleans symbols
A fleur-de-lis symbol on a door in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana.

What is the Significance of Fleur-de-Lis for New Orleans Symbols?

The symbol is found on the coat of arms from Spain because of its connection with the French bourbon houses. It is also a part of Canada’s coat of arms representing the French settlers and their influence. 

The fleur-de-lis was first used on the Franco-American flag in 1992. It is depicted in blue, red, and white colors, denoting France and the US. The symbol is also used on the armbands of Boy Scouts and was first used by Sir Robert Baden-Powell. 

The symbol is found almost everywhere in New Orleans, from sports to military to university logos and on wrought iron balconies. Be it the French Quarter, the St. Louis Cathedral’s murals, or the ironwork fence of Jackson Square. The fleur-de-lis is inseparable from the city. 

The fleur-de-lis became a popular tattoo symbol after hurricane Katrina. 

New Orleans symbols
The fleur-de-lis is the symbol most closely associated with the city of New Orleans.

What is the New Orleans Saints Symbol 

The New Orleans Saints is a football club with fleur-de-lis (lily flower) as the logo. The club started in 1967 with the symbol as its logo in black and white. In 2000, the logo was changed to gold color. The toned gold fleur-de-lis sits against the black-and-white outlines in the latest version of the club’s logo. 

It is the official symbol of the NFL team. It symbolizes nobility, royalty, a high social status, honesty, wealth, justice, and life. As is the custom of the American National Football League, the teams name their club after the city they play the home games (New York Giants, Chicago Bears, etc.).  

new orleans symbol
The New Orleans Saints use the fleur-de-lis symbol as their team logo.

What is New Orleans Famous For?

New Orleans in the state of Louisiana is famous for many things, such as: 

Lafayette Cemetery 

It is an above-ground cemetery with ornate and colorful tombs. The Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 is a popular historical site in New Orleans that awes and scares visitors equally. 

New Orleans symbols
Lafayette Cemetary in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Fat Tuesday/ Mardi Gras Celebrations

Mardi Gras falls on a Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (before Lent fasting begins) and has its roots in pagan festive celebrations. The parades, feasts, and carnivals in New Orleans are a must-attend for locals and tourists alike. 

New Orleans symbols
Mardi Gras is an incredibly well-known celebration that takes place every year in New Orleans.

Jackson Square 

Jackson Square is a historical park previously called Place d” Armes. The statue of Andrew Jackson on a horse is proudly displayed in the center of the park. The famous Louisiana Purchase happened on this site. 

New Orleans symbols
Jackson square in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Garden District 

The Garden District has a collection of lovely buildings and is a paradise for architecture lovers. The place is vividly described in the novel Violin by Anne Rice. She has also used the Lafayette Cemetery in her works. 

New Orleans symbols
The Garden District in New Orleans is known for its beautiful architecture.

French Quarter Bike Tour 

Tourists rent a bike to tour the French Quarter and enjoy all it offers. From shopping to sightseeing to enjoying a day out, the French Quarter is one of the top places to visit in New Orleans. 

New Orleans symbols
The French Quarter is a popular tourist destination known for its food and architecture.

Tulane University 

From architecture to music concerts and Amistad Research Center, the campus of Tulane University is a place to learn more about New Orleans’ cultural history and enjoy the local music. 

New Orleans symbols
New Orleans is home to Tulane University.

What is the City’s Motto?

The New Orleans city motto is ‘Laissez les bon temps rouler‘. The French phrase roughly translates to “Let the good times roll.” It symbolizes the free and happy energy of the place, with its blend of cultures that somehow managed to retain their individuality. 

What is the Official City Song of New Orleans?

The City of New Orleans, written by Steve Goodman, is considered the official city song. Goodman wrote the song in 1971, describing a train journey from Chicago to New Orleans. 

New Orleans is known for its association with jazz music, so much so that there’s a special music genre called New Orleans Jazz. It is more popularly known as Dixieland and is termed the city’s traditional music. New Orleans is lovingly called NOLA. 


Vanessa's liberal arts background has prepared her well for Symbol Scholar. A self-proclaimed theology nerd, Vanessa has interests in world religions, Reformation theology, history, and more. When she's not working, Vanessa enjoys spending time with her family, reading, exercising, and watching professional basketball.

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