Louisiana Redistricting – How You Can Participate in the Process

Photo Credit: Martin Haase, Wikimedia licensed under CC BY 2.5

The Louisiana Legislature is currently in the midst of one of the most important political processes in the state: redistricting. The Legislature will create new districts for Congress, the state legislature, and other bodies. If you’ve paid attention to other states, you understand how important and possibly contentious this process is. Lawsuits have already been filed challenging redistricting efforts in Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Georgia on the basis of racial fairness.

Here in Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards has said he supports the creation of a second majority-minority U.S. House district, noting that more than 4.6 million of Louisiana’s residents are Black.

“Obviously, if you want to talk about fairness and making sure that the maps reflect the reality, what the situation is on the ground, that should certainly be our goal, and I’m hopeful that we’re going to be able to get there,” Edwards said at an end-of-year news conference in December.

Over the next several weeks, the Lousiana House and Senate Committees on Governmental Affairs will travel around the state to hear from Louisiana’s citizens regarding what they want – and their next stop is in New Orleans.

On Jan 5, the legislators will be at the UNO University Center from 5:30 – 8:30 pm. Here, residents will have the opportunity to comment in person on what they want from the redistricting process.

Representative Royce Duplessis and state Senator Jimmy Harris wrote an opinion piece published in The Advocate|Times Picayune about the need for New Orleans to gain more representation in the legislature last month.

“Since the 1970s, New Orleans’ representation in the Legislature has declined due to population loss. However, this trend has reversed and our population has increased by 40,168 people during this past decade,” Duplessis and Harris wrote. “This is the highest numerical parish population growth in the state, meaning New Orleans is strongly positioned to gain more representation.”

If you can’t make it on Wednesday, there are two other opportunities where residents can comment in person if you are vaccinated and masked:

January 11 – Nicholls State University Cotillion Ballroom in Thibodaux, LA from 5:30 – 8:30 pm

January 20 – Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge at 11:00 am

Of course, if you’re unable to participate in person you can still have your voice heard. You can email the committee your thoughts at h&ga@legis.la.gov. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the redistricting process and how you can make a difference, a group of local nonprofit organizations is holding an educational session via Zoom on January 4 at 6 pm CT. The partnership includes the ACLU of Louisiana, Black Voters Matter, Citizen SHE United, E Pluribus Unum, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Urban League of Louisiana.

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