@JimmyT - You could be right with your assessment and I do feel it would be best to hear what someone has to say that is from Louisiana. However, I have to disagree on saying that "The Pelican State" is an appropriate nickname and that someone from Louisiana would probably agree with me.
The State Nickname is supposed to be something that people can identify with the state and when I think of Louisiana I think of Jazz and the Creole culture, not Pelicans.
Maybe it is a nickname that they have had since the state's founding, but it definitely does not represent the state well which is what a state nickname is supposed to do.
I find the state of Louisiana among the most unique and diverse areas in the United States of America and feel like it should have a unique state nickname to show the diversity that it offers. Sure there may be a lot of pelicans in the state, but I am sure people that live in Louisiana do not take as much pride in their pelicans as they do in their state history and culture.