How the proposed city council map is shaping up

Illustration by Peter DeHart
▸ The gist: LCG has published maps of the proposed independent city and parish council districts. You can find those detailed maps here and here. You can see the current consolidated council districts here.

▸ What are the notable changes in the city? For city councilmen, the most obvious and significant change is that they would no longer represent voters outside of the city of Lafayette. Four of the five existing districts that are mostly within city limits remain more or less the same, minus the parish bits that are lopped off. The central city portions of Pat Lewis’ district — currently District 3 — would be reapportioned to districts currently represented by Kenneth Boudreaux, Liz Hebert and Bruce Conque. Lewis’ district pretty much becomes Lafayette’s hat. Here are a few quick notes on each district:

District 1 contorts Pat Lewis’ current district to crawl along the northwestern boundary of city limits. It’s a near even split between black (46 percent) and white (49 percent) voters. Lewis would no longer represent Downtown or UL’s campus. Lewis currently represents a district that’s 63 percent black. 

District 2 
adjusts Bruce Conque’s district to include Downtown but removes the Broadmoor area.

District 3
tracks the city portions of Liz Hebert’s district with few adjustments. She would pick up UL’s campus from Lewis’ district and continue to represent River Ranch and the area around the Acadiana Mall. 

District 4 
is composed mostly of Nanette Cook’s district in the city’s southeast. Cook’s current consolidated district is a 61/39 split between city and parish constituents. As drawn, the district has an archipelago of unincorporated islands stretching out toward Broussard and Youngsville. 

District 5,
based on Kenneth Boudreaux’s district, is the city’s only majority-minority district — 71 percent of the population is African American. Boudreaux would pick up blocks of Freetown near Downtown currently repped by Pat Lewis and continue representing McComb-Veazey and the rest of Lafayette’s northeastern quadrant. 

▸ What about the parish council? 
The parish council map splits most of the city of Lafayette between two parish districts. Broussard and Youngsville would fall under one parish district that loosely tracks the boundaries of William Theriot’s current district. A western district would essentially merge the districts of Kevin Naquin and Jared Bellard and represent Duson, Scott and a small portion of Lafayette. Jay Castille’s northern district, which includes Carencro and a piece of Lafayette, remains more or less the same. 

▸ It’s not all black or white:
Federal law governs how the voting maps are drawn to ensure proportionate representation for minorities, in compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In Lafayette, like the rest of the South, that means we tend to think of Lafayette politics in terms of a power balance between white voting blocks and black voting blocks. 

Parsing the data here means looking back at the 2010 census, a time when only 5 percent of the city was neither white nor black. Demographer Mike Hefner, who helped draft the proposed districts, says he expects marginal demographic shifts among white and black residents in both the city and parish. However, Hefner expects the parish to see more growth among Hispanic residents in the 2020 census.

 

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