Who Voted and Who Didn’t in the October 14 Elections

Photo credit: Danae Columbus

The October 14, 2023 elections were a wake-up call for many New Orleanians who were surprised by the outcome of more than a few parish and state-wide races. Yet, with statewide turnout at 35.8 % and turnout in Orleans Parish at 27% percent, the 132,000 Orleans Parish voters who didn’t make it to the polls on Election Day shouldn’t be complaining.   

We reviewed the voting patterns in the race for governor in 55 Orleans Parish precincts to get a better look at who voted and who stayed home. Those neighborhoods included the Lakefront, New Orleans East, Holy Cross, the French Quarter, Uptown, Algiers Point and English Turn. 

Democrat Shawn Wilson received more than 50% of the overall vote in Orleans Parish, it makes sense that Wilson was the top vote getter in almost every precinct surveyed except in certain parts of Uptown where third-place finisher Steve Waguespack led the field. 

Those same politicos who didn’t expect in-coming governor Jeff Landry to grab a primary victory on October 14 also didn’t expect Landry to do well in New Orleans because of our majority Black and Democrat voter base. Of the 55 precincts in our search area, Landry got at least one vote in 54 of them and a much larger percentage in more than a few.   

The English Turn neighborhood, for example, where property values and property taxes are at the higher end of the scale, has 1453 registered voters.  Slightly more than 40% voted in the race for governor with Wilson receiving 220 votes; Landry 117; and Waguespack 31. The majority of registered voters in the neighborhood are Black.   

Voter turnout was strongest along the New Orleans Lakefront including in Lake Vista and Vista Park where turnout exceeded 45% in several precincts. The highest percentage turnout of any precinct in the city was in Ward 5 – Precinct 17 where multi-million dollar homes face Lake Pontchartrain closely followed by Ward 7 — Precinct 42 in Gentilly’s Vista Park where new homes were built or totally reimagined after Hurricane Katrina. Landry and Wilson each received 51 votes in 5-17 with Waguespack garnering 38. The precinct’s registration is majority White and majority Republican. 

Vista Park is an up-and-coming area and voting trends prove it. In 7-42, Wilson earned more votes than Landry and Waguespack combined. The precinct’s voter registration is predominantly White and predominantly Democrat. Generally speaking turnout in all the neighborhoods close to Lake Pontchartrain in the 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th wards was much stronger than in other parts of the city.  Some demographers correlate higher income and higher education attainment to greater voter participation, especially in low-interest elections. Landry was the top vote-getter in several of these precincts that tend to skew more conservative.

The Orleans Parish precinct with the lowest percentage turnout is 14-13A where only 4.09% of voters (96 out of 2345) turned out. Located in the upper Freret Street corridor, the precinct’s voters are predominantly White Democrats.

In the precincts associated with the French Quarter, overall turnout was just over 20% with more people voting in the Upper Quarter closer to Esplanade Avenue. Wilson got approximately four times the votes Landry received.   

In the L-9 Holy Cross neighborhood by the Mississippi River turnout was approximately 50% lower than along the Lake. Wilson was the big winner in that neighborhood with Landry and Waguespack in single digits. 

Voters in New Orleans East who live around Maria Goretti Church between Morrison and Read Rd, Chef Menteur to Lake Pontchartrain fully supported Wilson. Waguespack failed to get even a single vote in more than half of these precincts. Landry also did poorly. Wilson also enjoyed a big lead in the five precincts usually associated with Algiers Point. 

Voters living in the eight Council District B between Louisiana and Napoleon avenues, St. Charles to the river also gave their support to Wilson with Waguespack receiving a decent number of votes and Landry not far behind.    

Finally, the 10 Uptown precincts, bounded by St. Charles, Nashville, Carrolton and the Mississippi River, were Waguespack country. Though he did not win all the precincts, Waguespack outshined Landry and gave Wilson a run for his money in these neighborhoods populated by many of the city’s business leaders.  

While the races for governor and lt. Governor is over, New Orleans voters still have a chance to help elect a new Secretary of State, State Treasurer and Attorney General as well as several members of the Louisiana Legislature. Each of the statewide runoff contests features one Democrat and one Republican.  The election will be held Saturday, November 18. Early voting begins Saturday, November 4 and ends Saturday November 11. Absentee mail in ballots are also available.  

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