District 2 City-Parish Councilman Jay Castille is staring down a tough year. A week ago Castille was elected council chairman for 2010, the same year college students and the marginally employed will forgo door-to-door magazine and water purifier sales and instead count heads for the U.S. Census Bureau. The tally will have far-reaching effects on Lafayette Parish. While some parishes like St. Tammany and Bossier have gorged themselves on the fair-skinned jettisoned by fear and fortune from nearby urban areas, we’re the only parish in the state since 2000 to have grown solely by the steam of our economic engine.
The census results — probably somewhere around 215,000 for the parish, although officials have challenged a preliminary estimate, arguing it’s closer to 230,000 — will likely mean Lafayette will get an additional senator, and more clout, in Baton Rouge. It will also force the parish to reconfigure its city-parish council districts, which are also the districts for the Lafayette Parish School Board.
And that’s where things get complicated.
In 1990, six years before voters approved consolidation, a nine-member appointed commission created a city-parish charter. On balance, it is a serviceable constitution. But over the last two decades Lafayette’s growth has been anything but uniform. Population-wise, our parish is now bottom heavy — demographically pear-shaped. A gluteus that is undeniably maximus. Consequently, the southern districts — 7, 8 and 9 — have a disproportionate amount of residents while the inner-city districts — 3, 4 and 6 — are underpopulated. Our own version of white flight.
To remedy that, the southern districts will have to shrink, the underpopulated districts expand, and, some have suggested, all of them rotate in a counter-clockwise direction. The tricky part will be to maintain two majority black districts — 3 and 4 — without them meandering through the parish like a coulee. And the U.S. Department of Justice must sign off on a redistricting plan that satisfies the terms of the federal Voting Rights Act.
But here’s the rub: While the charter requires that districts have roughly the same number of residents, it also requires that any reapportionment be done at least six months before a council or school board election. School board elections will be held this fall, so no problem for them.
But council elections are set for October 2011, and Lafayette probably won’t get its census count back until March 2011 — six months before the election. That leaves no time — and it will take time, weeks probably — to reapportion the districts. “There’s no way,” Castille says. “Impossible. Just with the federal government trying to accept it, and that’s not even us working on it. It’s going to take us a while how to redistrict this thing.”
Castille appointed a new charter commission to remove the wording about reapportionment being at least six months before the election. But any changes to the charter will have to be approved by parish voters. Castille hopes to get that on a ballot Nov. 2 of this year. But in the meantime, any reapportionment plan will also have to satisfy the Lafayette Parish School Board, whose members will also be subject to the new districts and who will have their own prerogatives about how the districts are redrawn. LCG’s legal department, meanwhile, is researching whether any of this will get us in trouble with the DOJ.
A tough year indeed.
Bon chance, Jay.
A federal jury found attorney Daniel Stanford guilty Friday afternoon on eight of 13 counts for his role in the Curious Goods conspiracy.
Lafayette City-Court Judge Francie Bouillion has served on the bench for two decades since winning a special election to replace Judge Kaliste Saloom when he retired in 1994.
The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,575 rigs were exploring for oil and 338 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,776 active rigs.
A crew began erecting the 25-foot mini-wheel late morning Friday in anticipation of the evening’s Hottest Night of the Year party at the park.
Frances Boothe of Nunez, who also happens to be filmmaker Stephen Meaux’s grandmother, prepares a cool-weather fave.
The magazine's senior football writer also predicts a break-out year for Saints fourth-year running back Mark Ingram.
New Iberia colonial or Broussard traditional home
The LPSB is poised and ready to move forward with the termination of Pat Cooper following a discussion Thursday with the attorney hired for the investigation of the superintendent, but a decision of this magnitude should be left up to the new board seated in January, especially with three pro-investigation board members bailing out come the new year.
Fiery style for game day
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Gulf Coast ceremonies marking the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina have begun.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there is little known about the effects of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp. But, officials say the reports they're seeking will help state biologists monitor the distribution of the prawns and determine the possible presence of spawning populations.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh rested his regulars and watched with delight as Ray Rice's backups ground out 214 yards rushing in a 22-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Google vs. Amazon in drone race; more deaths in Syria; Russia escalates Ukraine conflict and more national and international news for Friday, August 29, 2014.
High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to put the kibosh on the legal ownership of monkeys trained to help the disabled, and the agency wants to know what you think.
A federal judge on Thursday asked lawyers battling over Louisiana's new, restrictive abortion law for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open — at least for a while — after the law takes effect Sept. 1.
Three bedroom Port Barre cottage or three bedroom historic district Opelousas home
No laboring for shoppers this holiday
It will be next month before Gov. Bobby Jindal will likely get a chance to change the membership of a South Louisiana flood board that is suing dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
An abortion rights organization wants a federal judge to block enforcement of Louisiana's new abortion law while its lawsuit to overturn the law makes its way through court.
Republican presidential prospects Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal are planning to speak at an Iowa Christian conservative event in September.
The attention surrounding Victor White III has spiked with the release of last week’s autopsy report, which has raised a number of serious questions about the night of his death and has put the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office under an increased wave of scrutiny as more national media outlets are jumping on the story, most recently seen on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.
The Acadiana Center for the Arts and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority have announced a new artist stipend program, ArtSpark, designed to offer financial aid to local artists.
A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.
The Discovery Channel has canceled reality TV star Will Hayden's popular "Sons of Guns" show after his arrest on an aggravated rape charge.
The LPSB will finally hear from the attorney it hired to investigate the superintendent at a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m.
Three bedroom traditional or two bedroom Victorian cottage