The state House and Senate signed off on a congressional redistricting plan Wednesday afternoon — just hours before the scheduled close of the special session — that largely preserves the power bases of the five incumbent congressmen and leaves freshman U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, on the outside looking in.
The plan (see map below), which must be approved by Gov. Bobby Jindal as well as the U.S. Department of Justice, also makes strange bedfellows among far-flung communities with little in common culturally. Assuming the map is approved, residents in Opelousas will have to turn to Rep. Rodney Alexander in Monroe when they need help from their congressman. And residents in Ville Platte will be calling on Rep. John Fleming in Shreveport.
The biggest loser, however, appears to be Landry, who won a seat in the U.S. House representing what is currently the 3rd Congressional District. That district will more or less be absorbed into the districts currently represented by Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, and Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie. The former’s southwest Louisiana district will remain largely intact, spreading eastward to take in Landry’s home parish of Iberia as well as St. Mary, which are now in Landry's 3rd Congressional District. Currently the 7th District, Boustany’s new district will become the 3rd District next year. Scalise’s 1st District spreads south and west to take in Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes, where Landry campaigned heavily in his win last fall over former state House Speaker Hunt Downer.
The short of it is, if Landry wants to run in the new 3rd Congressional District against Boustany next year, assuming Boustany seeks re-election, the freshman congressman have to campaign in unfamiliar territory. Boustany is in his fourth term, having faced no opponents in the last election.
Politico echoed the sentiment that the map favors Boustany:
The final plan, which Jindal said Wednesday he will sign into law, is viewed as a win for Boustany, who will keep his Lake Charles and Lafayette population centers. Landry, a tea party backed freshman, will find himself in largely new territory and without a significant portion of his current district, No longer in Landry’s district are Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.
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APR 16 Lamar Parmentel writes about the latest forecast for Louisiana's future - and it ain't rosy. The fiscal experts in the budget office are predicting a shortfall of nearly $1 billion for the 2015-16 fiscal year, he writes. This is what the "dead beat" governor is going to leave us as his legacy, Lamar says.
APR 16 The extended controversy surrounding Louisiana College may begin to wind down now; the Town Talk reports here that embattled president Joe Aguillard has been reduced to a professor position. It's likely that soon we will begin to see the post-mortems begin -- this story isn't over.
APR 16 Clancy DuBos writes about the McAllister affair in this post, commenting on the moral confusion of a state that votes to "free the sodomites" on Monday and then to make the Bible the state book on Tuesday, as well as the hypocrisy of the Reps, the Dems and our fearless leader. Clancy says he's "not even sure if Jindal's hypocrisy has a limit."
APR 16 The fence blocking the public from Newcomb Boulevard in NOLA came down Tuesday morning, The Lens reports in this post. The fence was put up by neighbors who didn't want just anybody walking on a public street, but there's a big ole picture of a city worker cutting it down in this post. The general public should be able to drive on the street (which they own) in about a week, the story says.
APR 16 Here's a movement to get behind. NOLA Defender reports that there's a push to have A Confederacy of Dunces named Louisiana's state book in lieu of the Bible, which is the current contender. Although there is plenty of sin and politics in the Good Book, it's probably a lot easier to read the more contemporary (and more Louisiana-specific) prose in John Kennedy Toole's book.
APR 16 When you report on something as important as a historic local building, you need to get it right. According to blogger Lamar White Jr., that's just what an Alexandria TV station did not do. In this post, he tells us about a historic ball field that the station reported as targeted for demolition. Apparently, that's not even close to true.
APR 16 Here's a link to ALEC's annual competitiveness report, which ranks states according to that shadowy organization's opinions of good and bad. (Louisiana's on page 23) You can read a very brief lead-in, with a sentence or two about what ALEC is, in this Advocate story.
APR 16 DIG Magazine's Cody Worsham blogs about the Baton Rouge bus system in this post. Although the system has been the focus of extreme controversy, he's focusing instead on his own recent (and pleasant) experience taking the bus. In the end, he didn't turn in his SUV keys for a permanent bus pass, but it sounds like he'll be taking the bus more often.
APR 15 Blogger CB Forgotston is writing in this post about the newest hire by Gov. Bobby Jindal, a press secretary whose only means of contact is (apparently) Twitter. (Yeah, because that worked so good for Kyle.) CB has done a little digging on the lady, but wants more info -- and he's not getting it from the source, because she won't return his twits. Twerps. Uh, tweets.
APR 15 Blogger Elliott Stonecipher has his say on the McAllister mess in this post on Forward Now. Looks like the architects of the plan to oust McAllister are getting a little blow-back, Stonecipher opines, and it reminds him of an old cliche about revenge.
APR 15 Not one to walk past a golden opportunity, Democrat John Bel Edwards says his piece in this Picayune post on the GOP's issue du jour. The hypocrisy of the GOP calling on McAllister to resign and staying silent on Vitter is so massive there's not even a word for it, Edwards says, and so he came up with his own: hypo-hypocrisy.
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