Four New Orleans area House seats were lost during the 2011 reapportionment process, but the city's long-term redistricting prospects are looking better, according to recent numbers.
Of the 144 legislative districts, the six that lost the most voters in the years following the 2010 census are all in New Orleans and all held by Democrats. The latest study on this was conducted by JMC Analytics and Polling, which also found that voter registration figures in those areas are now rebounding at a faster rate than the statewide average. "Plus, when you start looking at year-to-year population changes, not just voter registration, you see Orleans Parish and St. Bernard Parish growing faster than the rest of the state," said JMC president John Couvillon.
In the April 2010 census, Orleans had a population of 344,000, while the July 2013 interim estimate, the most recent available, pegged it at closer to 379,000. In St. Bernard Parish, population increased from 36,000 to 43,000. (Neighboring Jefferson Parish's population has remained relatively flat, going from 433,000 to just 435,000.)
Together, Orleans and St. Bernard parishes accounted for 46 percent of Louisiana's overall population growth from 2010 to 2013.
Couvillon estimates that kind of growth could enable the region to recapture two of the four House seats lost after the 2010 census. But that gain will come at a cost to northeast Louisiana, where population growth is stagnant, especially in the rural areas surrounding Ouachita Parish.
This is all inside baseball for a process that probably won't take place until 2021 at the earliest or 2023 at the latest.
This story first appeared in Issue 981 of LaPolitics Weekly on May 15, 2014. Wish you would have read it then? Subscribe now!