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A LITTLE HISTORY LESSON

About the Festival- History

 

Founded in 1999 by Leroy Harvey, the Highland Games of Louisiana were held for over a decade in rural Jackson, Louisiana.  After a short hiatus, the Caledonian and St. Andrew Societies of Baton Rouge revived the Highland Games of Louisiana in May of 2015. Many of us, our families, and our friends were affected by the Great Flood of 2016, so we held our next Louisiana Highland Games and Celtic Festival in the fall of 2017. 

Now, we are proudly partnered with the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center of Ascension Parish, where there is no fear of flooding or rain out! 

The Louisiana Tartan

 

Tartan refers to fabric woven into plaid patterns representing clans (families) or regions in Scotland.In old Scotland, the tartan was used for clothing and as a banner or flag.Because a family or community worked the cloth together, their clothing was made of the same patterns, and so a person could be recognized by the Tartan plaid that he wore. Tartans can also be designed as a symbol commemorating a special event or person.

 

The official Louisiana tartan was designed by CSBR member, Joe McD. Campbell, and was presented to the Board of Directors. A letter was sent to Governor Mike Foster for his approval in March 2000. Unfortunately, it was sent to the wrong place and the governor informed Kate that it should go to the State Legislature for approval. CSBR action slowed a bit until member Randall Stevenson took the reins. Randall works for the Louisiana Department of Insurance and works daily with members of the state legislature. Randall was able to get Rep. Charles F. McDonald, from Bastrop, LA, to sponsor the bill with the able assistance of Rep. Chuck McMains of Baton Rouge and the rest is history. Louisiana now joins over 15 other states with their own Tartan.

 

The tartan consists of four colors, namely:

  • Blue for the sky, lakes, bayous, rivers and waterways

  • Green for agriculture and forests

  • White for rice, sugar cane, cotton and the magnolias

  • Black for petroleum and natural resources

  • and is based upon the red, white, blue and black USA Bicentenial tartan.

The Louisiana Tartan was officially recognized in 2001. After clearing the House committee on April 4th and a unanimous vote of approval by the entire House of REpresentatives on April 19th, LA. House Bill 347 unanimously cleared the Senate & Governmental Affairs committee on Wednesday, May 9. On May 15th, the bill was voted on by the full Senate and passed unanimously (38-0). The bill was signed by Governor Mike Foster on June 6th, 2001.

Irish History in Louisiana

 

Irish immigrants and their descendants formed one of the largest European ethnic groups in Louisiana, and particularly in New Orleans, which served as a major port of entry for emigrants to the United States. Irish immigrants first came to Louisiana during the Spanish colonial period (1763-1800). After a 1798 uprising in Ireland failed to end British rule, many Irish left rather than face continued persecution. In fact, Louisiana’s second governor under spanish rule was Alejandro O’Reilly, an Irishman by birth who had enlisted in the Spanish army so that he could serve a Catholic monarch. Only a small number of Irish residents lived in the Crescent City in the late 18th century.  During the 1920’s and 1830’s a second wave of Irish immigrants arrived in Louisiana to escape the economic depression afflicting all of Europe at the the end of the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815). The steady but slow stream of Irish immigrants swelled to a flood when the Irish Potato Famine struck in 1845. By 1850, 1 in 5 residents was from Ireland, and New Orleans had emerged as the city with the largest Irish population in the South.

Scottish History in Louisiana

 

One of the greatest waves of Scottish immigrants happened after the Clearances following the Uprising of 1745. While the immigration flow began in the early 1700s following the Act of Union, trickle became a flood as families were forced from their ancestral lands. Many settlers found a home in the Carolinas, but  as the population swelled following the Revolutionary War, the late 1700s and early 1800s saw the hardy Scots looking further west. The family of Jim Bowie, of Alamo fame, settled in Louisiana in the early 1800s. Many places across Louisiana have names that reflect their Scottish heritage - roads that sound like the calling of the Clans - Buie, Ross , Bruce, Campbell, Burns, Glenburnie, Hamilton, McDonald, McGehee, McClelland, McIlhenny.