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Louisiana with 2 "VRA" districts?

by: sacman701

Sat Apr 16, 2011 at 1:41 AM EDT

A few days ago in the discussion of the proposed Louisiana map someone drew a map with two majority-black districts but nothing else filled in. I drew this map to see (a) if I could get the New Orleans district to be more compact and (b) what the other districts would look like. As it turns out, the answer to (a) is yes, but it's plurality black as opposed to majority black, and the answer to (b) is ugly.
sacman701 :: Louisiana with 2 "VRA" districts?
Here's the map.


In district descriptions, the percentages are for voting age population. w is non-Hispanic white, b is black, h is Hispanic, and a is Asian.

LA1 (blue): 77.6w-12.3b-6.0h-1.7a. Still mostly a suburban New Orleans seat, but it was forced to move into the Thibodaux-Houma area by the positions of the VRA districts. Safe R.

LA2 (green): 41.7w-46.5b-7.3h-3.0a. Because of the depopulation of New Orleans, this district has to extend west and then south to pick up some heavily black areas. Probably likely D to safe D, as it's still 58% minority and its white population is probably relatively moderate compared to the rest of the state. While less compact than a typical district, it's far more compact than either its current or proposed versions.

LA3 (purple): 74.0w-20.7b-2.4h-0.9a. Ugh. It's geographically impossible for it to take all of Cajun country, so it has to extend much further north. It wasn't possible for it to take everything along the west side of the state up to and including Shreveport so I had to take it practically to the northeast corner of the state to avoid splitting up the Shreveport area. The result is a sprawling, incoherent mess that takes up maybe 40% of the state's land area. Safe R.

LA4 (red): 59.8w-35.6b-2.4h-1.0a. The one clean district, the I-20 district. Likely R.

LA5 (yellow): 79.6w-13.9b-3.5h-1.7a. This ugly district with nodes in Baton Rouge and Cajun country connected by a narrow strip was necessary because the two VRA districts pass so close to each other. Safe R.

LA6 (teal): 44.6w-50.2b-2.6h-1.3a. The Baton Rouge-based majority-black district is nice and compact, but it has some community-of-interest issues as it takes pieces of Lafayette, Ville Platte, and Alexandria in addition to part of the capital city. Probably close to safe D even though it's likely only D+6 or so: it looks like it would be easy for a Republican to get to 40% but nearly impossible to get over the hump. Compare it to Sanford Bishop's current district, which is probably about as polarized as this LA6 would be but has black-white percentages that are basically the reverse of what this district has. It's D+1.

I'm pretty sure that a court would accept this proposed LA6 if the state submitted it, as courts have accepted some really ugly and incoherent districts.  But here's the question: would a court compel a state to draw something like the proposed LA6--which looks ok but slices and dices some widely separated cities--if the state isn't inclined to draw it in the first place? Perhaps someone with a better understanding of the VRA can weigh in on this. Thoughts?

Would a court compel the state to draw a map similar to the one proposed above?


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this is no more uglier a map
than what the Republicans signed their names to in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas some years back. Excellent job!

Its sort of a...
These Louisiana maps with 2 VRA districts set at least one of the districts to be possibly dummy-manders on the part of Democrats, its likely that Democrats would hold both, but save for a Cleo Fields district that SCOTUS stuck down; I really do not see both districts being safe, maybe one will but two reaches too far.

Louisiana has African Americans but they are not all conveniently located in a proximate area it makes these into insane gerrymanders, if Louisiana gains another district in 2020 and growth patterns work, I can see a second reasonable district but I think the DOJ will sit this cycle out when it comes to Louisiana.

[ Parent ]
This comment confuses me
As between one super safe seat and two "reasonably likely to win" seats, I'll take the latter in Louisiana. I say that from the perspective of a Democrat. The VRA envisions just that arrangement for race and language minorities.  

[ Parent ]
With the volatility of Louisiana's political nature. I'd want something more than a Sanford Bishop kind of district. D+4 at least

[ Parent ]
Thanks for putting this together
It's a little uglier than I had hoped for (based on ACS data).

If you dropped
the Terrebonne sections and extended into New Iberia, it would have been 50.1% black, (with a few other nitpicking tweaks here and there). It can be done. It's just even uglier than that district is.  

LA with 2 VRA districts

LA2 (green): 47.5w-38.4b-9.1h-3.5a. All of Orleans, almost all of Jefferson, including the conservative white suburbs. It's a coalition minority-majority district. It's 56% Obama and 55% Melancon (the 2 worst Democratic performances in Louisiana, probably ever), so it's safe D. Even if Joseph Cao would have narrowly won it in 2010, he won't win it back now.
LA5 (yellow): 44.8w-50.0+b-2.6h-1.3a.  

26, male, Dem, NJ-12

When Cleo Fields ran for governor in 1995...
He was crushed by 27 points (63.5-36.5)

I'm pretty sure that's the worst performance by a Democrat since Reconstruction (maybe even including Reconstruction).

20, Democrat, Male, MI-06 (Home), MI-02 (College)

[ Parent ]
The worst 'Democratic' performance during Reconstruction was the unionist scalawag James Taliaferro in 1868, who received 36.9% of the vote running against Missouri carpetbagger Clay Warmoth.

Well, both were technically Republicans but Democrats supported the scalawag over the carpetbagger. The Democrats did not officially nominate in 1868.

[ Parent ]
wow that is an asskicking
If a Democrat does 4% worse than Obama (who got 40.5% of the statewide 2-party vote) then they still win Orleans plus Jefferson.
Nice work finding that.

26, male, Dem, NJ-12

[ Parent ]
It reflects almost purely racial politics
and, apparently, really poor black turnout outside of NO. Though I'm not sure what the VAP looked like 15 years ago.  

[ Parent ]
Mary Landrieu
Pretty much killed him. If it wasn't for her campaign against him, he could have gotten 40%.  

[ Parent ]
You inspired me to try this
There was a bill (HB41) introduced in the LA legislature with a plan for 2 Black majority districts. Of course, it didn't go far. In that plan LA 2 has 52.7% Black; LA 6 has 52.3%. I knew roughly where they created those 2 districts, but decided to try for myself. I got LA 2 with 53.8% (centered around NO); LA 6 with 54.8% (centered around Baton Rouge).

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