Welcome to the 2010 NFL season! I am a lifelong fan of the sport and you better believe that this date has been on my calendar since the official schedule was released in the spring.
The first game is a rematch of the thrilling 2009 NFC championship shoot-out between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints. I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the season than to highlight the welcome signs for Minnesota and Louisiana (alas, I have not yet captured the welcome sign for the Big Easy, but it’s on my schedule next month).
The Welcome to Louisiana sign displays the same fleur-de-lis that is featured on the helmets and jerseys of all 53 members of the New Orleans Saints. Most often associated with the French monarchy, this lily flower became the official symbol of the State of Louisiana in 2008.
The history of Louisiana is tightly linked to France; France claimed the region in the late 17th century and the state takes its name from King Louis XIV. In fact, Louisiana is one of only three states to welcome visitors in both English and French. Can you guess the other two states?
Minnesota’s sign ranks as one of five most favorite state welcome signs. One of only a few signs I have photographed made of stone, the flowing vertical lines represent the Mississippi River which originates in Minnesota and ends in New Orleans (quel coincidence!). The pink cursive script provides a splash of color that reflects Minnesota’s state flower, the pink and white lady’s slipper.
The game clock just wound down to zero, and the Saints were victorious over the Vikings. But the Minnesota sign remains the winner for me.