NEW ORLEANS -- A forged letter making the rounds on social media claims city officials want to get rid of the New Orleans' most recognizable symbol.

The top of the letter says City of New Orleans and it closes with what appears to be Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s signature, but the letter’s content is not from any city official, let alone anyone with credibility or authority.

The letter states that many residents are “highly offended” by the Fleur-De-Lis because the symbol was used to brand “troublesome slaves.” As a result, the letter states that the Landrieu Administrations and the City Council have decided to “eliminate the Fleur-de-Lis” and that the mayor is strongly urging people to stop selling merchandise that shows it.

According to the City, the letter is as false as it is outrageous.

Deputy Mayor of External Affairs Ryan Berni responded to our request of clarification on the letter saying “Of course this is fake.”

But what about the letter’s claims about the Fleur-de-Lis?

Dr. Ibrahima Seck, Chief Researcher at the Whitney Plantation, says the brand was used, mostly for slave who ran away.

“He would be taken before a court and the sentence would be being branded on one shoulder with the Fleur-de-Lis and then they would crop their ears,” Seck said.

So while the letter’s claims about the Fleur-de-Lis are true, the claim that anyone is trying to stop its use as a symbol for New Orleans or the New Orleans Saints is false.