NEW ORLEANS — A giant pelican will soon be landing and taking off at airports in a salute to its namesake state.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines unveiled Louisiana One on Wednesday at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. The Boeing 737-700 is painted with an artist’s rendition of Louisiana’s flag.

Gov. John Bel Edwards says the plane is a tribute to the Pelican State and a flying ambassador.

In 1979, New Orleans became Southwest’s first destination served beyond its home state of Texas.

The plane that features a mother pelican and a nest of her three young joins 11 other state-themed 737s in Southwest’s fleet: Arizona One, California One, Colorado One, Florida One, Illinois One, Lone Star One (Texas), Maryland One, Missouri One, Nevada One, New Mexico One and Tennessee One.

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