The Louisiana Department of Justice this week submitted the state’s U.S. House of Representatives redistricting plan to the U.S. Attorney general for pre-clearance. Because Louisiana and other formerly segregated Southern states are subject to the federal Voting Rights Act, the plan must be pre-approved by the Department of Justice before the districts can be officially established. If approved, the districts will become official in January of 2013, but will be in practical effect when candidates qualify to seek congressional seats next fall.

Due to stagnant population growth between 2000 and 2010, Louisiana lost one of its seven House seats. State lawmakers convened a special redistricting session in March to reconfigure those districts into six, a process that proved contentious and pitted north Louisiana against south Louisiana. Ultimately what emerged was a plan that effectively protected incumbents, allowed north Louisiana to maintain two vertical districts seated by Monroe and Shreveport, and left freshman GOP Rep. Jeff Landry of New Iberia the uninviting prospect of running against established, entrenched incumbent Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, should Landry choose to seek reelection.

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