The Great Seal of the State of Louisiana was adopted as the official state seal of Louisiana in 1902. The seal consists of a heraldic charge called a "pelican in her piety," representing a Brown Pelican (the Official State Bird) representing a mother pelican wounding her breast to feed her young from her own blood. This symbol, emblematic of Christian charity, is also found on the Louisianastate flag. The Louisiana state motto of "Union, justice, confidence" surrounds the birds on the state seal. An outer ring further identifies it with the words "State of Louisiana".
During the 19th century it was traditional in Louisiana flags and the state seal for the "pelican in her piety" to have three drops of blood on her chest. However, in later years the tradition (on both the state flag and seal) had been haphazardly followed, which was noticed by an eighth-grader at Vandebilt Catholic High School in Houma who brought this to the attention of his state legislator. The issue was resolved in April 2006, when the Louisiana State Legislature passed a bill (House Bill 833/Act 92) which requires three drops of blood to be depicted on the pelican used in both the state's flag and seal.