Can pride fuel future successes?

Published 12:02am Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Texans certainly have impressive egos. Mississippians and Louisianans know that from a young age.

I learned about that Texan pride during my stock-girl days at my father’s convenience store in Oxford.

Among the items we always kept in stock were polyester and cotton Texas flags. We didn’t sell flags from any other state so it always seemed odd to me to shelve a flag from two states over next to Mississippi’s state flag, the American flag and the Rebel flag — which was still very popular at Ole Miss in those days.

But those Texas flags did sell, and we always reordered.

I was reminded — or, perhaps, enveloped in — of that Texas pride over the weekend.

Kevin and I took a short vacation to San Antonio for a few days, enjoying the river walk, zoo and even the Institute of Texas Cultures. Needless to say, we encountered Texas pride — and that flag — at every turn.

Highway overpasses feature insets of the state’s shape wrapped in the flag or bronzed lone stars. Sidewalks are imprinted with the same star. A 20-foot model of the treasured star greets you at the state line. Businesses have integrated the state’s outline, the flag or the star into their logos.

The star is on fences, chairs, tables, napkins, bags, door hinges, bathroom walls and more.

They are simply proud of their state.

Texas is a large, oil-rich state that has been successful in most everything since the Alamo. They even celebrate the silver lining in that grand defeat.

It’s easy to look over there and understand why they are so proud.

But, what came first, the success or the pride?

If other states adopted the Texas model — big, bold and boastful — could they find successes too?

You don’t see visual expressions of Mississippi or Louisiana pride at every turn.

I saw more Texas flags in one stretch of the river walk than I’ve seen Mississippi flags in all of Natchez.

I know there’s a pelican on the Louisiana state flag, but I couldn’t tell you what else it says. It’s flown in Concordia Parish less than the Mississippi flag is in Natchez.

Neither of our great states has an easily repeatable emblem, like the Texas lone star.

We don’t take pride in the shape of our states, and you rarely see it drawn on much of anything.

Mississippians know that we bring up the rear on almost every list ranking good things. Louisianans know they shouldn’t point too many fingers our way since they aren’t all that far ahead.

So, on paper, it’s easy to understand why we don’t boast like Texans.

But Mississippians and Louisianans also know our states are great. There’s nowhere we’d rather be, truly.

The world may know about Texas pride, but few in Texas care much about the world.

The excellent branding efforts in that great state may be noticed by outsiders, but more importantly, they are ingrained in the minds of Texans. The symbols, the flags, the three dozens songs about the state, those things instill pride in the state’s residents.

And pride creates greatness, whether it was already there or not.

Texas has outlined a simple model — slap your state symbols everywhere and speak positively of the homeland. Neither concept is costly or difficult to understand.

When will Mississippi and Louisiana wise up and follow suit? It couldn’t hurt anything.


Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or


  • Anonymous

    Let’s examine – 100% of Texans, except the illegal aliens who still pledge allegiance to the Mexican flag, are proud of their state flag.  Only about 50% of Mississippians are proud of theirs, and the mayor falls in the non prouds since he required the former police chief to remove it from the flag pole at the police department.  It looks to me like we have a long way to go to catch up with TX.  Nice thought though.  Could you find a way to get 100% of MS residents on the same side of the line?  I don’t think so.

  • Anonymous

    No offense intended but, the writer is not very observant.  We in Louisiana are very proud of our state flag and emblem.  In fact, our flag was redesigned last year and can be seen in its full glory at practically any point in Louisiana.  I live in Alexandria and can see our flag flying proudly beside or beneath the American flag in ten or twelve locations blocks from my home.  Louisianians also fly the flag from their homes. A quick walk through the french quarter of New Orleans will also put to rest any idea that we do not fly our flag.   Wal-Mart and McDonalds also display our state flag.

    Big problem for Mississippi though.  Because of false historical associations with aspects of your flag, many national corporations including Wal-Mart  will not display or sell the Mississippi state flag.  This practice is well known and has gone on for many years. 

     Louisiana’s flag  does not carry the same baggage.  Please be more observant of our flag as you travel in Louisiana.  It is not difficult to find.  Here is an image for you.

    Dale Ray,

  • khakirat

    Well put OSG our leaders should fly the Ms. State flag with pride on all state and local muncipalities and all schools in the state!!! Middleton should correct the situation and have flying at all city offices!!!

  • Anonymous

    “Mississippians know that we bring up the rear on almost every list ranking good things.”

    Kind of difficult to show pride in that.  I think Texas finds at least some of its pride in how it is seen by others.  It has a reputation among the states.  Cowboys, rugged individualism, chivalry, sacrifice, etc.

    Lets just say our reputation is a bit different than that.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s ask the mayoral candidates their position on flying the state flag, as questions were requested a few days ago by ND.

  • Anonymous

    I fly the first Mississippi flag, also known as the Magnolia flag.  First Mississippi Republic flag.  It looks very cool, (1861-1894).

  • Anonymous

    Maybe if the state flag didn’t contain an emblem synonymous in many people’s minds with racism and segregation, more people would fly the flag.

  • Anonymous

    In my mind that is synonymous with the Democratic party.  I don’t see anyone banning that.

  • Anonymous

    Not to start an lengthy discourse on this subject as has occurred in the not too distant past – but – the state flag was reapproved in a statewide referendum in the recent past.  I guess if you don’t like living in a state with an offensive flag, you could move elsewhere.  As I understand, our country bases elections for political officials and lots of other issues on majority vote and we ALL have to live with that outcome, so what is different here?

  • Anonymous

    I moved to Texas a year ago and love it here.  I am a proud former Louisianian, but Texas is a far better place to live.  I lived 3 years in Natchez and to this day, I can not see why anyone would stay in the Natchez area.  It was the most dismal place I have ever resided in my 48 years of life.  If you need a good job and are willing to work, Texas is waiting with open arms.