The fleur de lis, a French symbol used by royal families dating back to the 13th century, and emblazoned on the New Orleans Saints helmet, is now being called a symbol of slavery, drawing comparisons to the recent uproar against the Confederate battle flag.
“As an African I find it painful, and I think people whose ancestors were enslaved here may feel it even harder than I do as an African,” said slave historian Dr. Ibrahima Seck to WWLTV.
He connects the usage of the fleur de lis, to “code noir,” or black code, which was adopted in Louisiana in 1724, and used to govern to state’s slave population.
Seck said a slave caught running away, “would be taken before a court and the sentence would be being branded on one shoulder and with the fleur de lis, and then they would crop their ears.”
Seck isn’t alone. Tulane history professor Terence Fitzmorris said, “It was a brutal way of scarring someone and also identifying someone as a particular troublemaker.”