As we've come together as a community to support the loved ones of the victims of last Thursday's shooting, the Acadiana flag has become a powerful symbol of our solidarity, hope, and pride. It's been modified in various ways by numerous creative people and has proliferated throughout social media and beyond, turning up as yard signs, t - shirts, and more.

What is the history and symbolism of the Acadian or 'Cajun flag' that has become such a powerful presence in Acadiana over the last few days?

Lafayette Travel's website features a fantastic article that offers a history of the flag and its symbolism.

The flag's designer

The Louisiana Acadian flag was designed by Thomas J. Arceneaux to recognize the 200th anniversary of the Acadian exile from Nova Scotia. A native of Carencro, Arceneaux is a life - long supporter of English/French education in Louisiana schools, a founding member of CODOFIL, and one of the pioneers of the Louisiana French movement that led to a resurgence of passion for and pride in French - Acadian heritage.

Symbols and colors

The three silver fleur de lis on the blue field recall the French heritage of the Acadians are are also a symbol of the kings of France

The gold castle on a field of red symbolizes the benevolence and support of Spain, which ruled Louisiana during the time of the Acadians' arrival

The gold star on the white field symbolizes the Virgin Mary, who was the Patroness of the Acadians under the title 'Our Lady of the Assumption.' King Louis XIII and Pope XI declared Mary both Patroness of the Kingdom and Patron Saint of all Acadians in Louisiana, Canada, and elsewhere.

The star is also a symbol of the participation of Acadian soldiers in the American Revolution under the command of Spanish governor, Galvez. The American Revolution broke out not long after the Acadians arrived, and they joined with Spain in supporting the revolution against Britain, which had exiled the Acadians from their home.

Click here to read the full article, which contains more fascinating information about the flag and Acadian history.