Ed Anderson, Times-Picayune, March 3, 2011
[Louisiana’s] Legislative Black Caucus has hired a consultant to help evaluate whether a second African Amerian-majority congressional district can be drawn at the upcoming special legislative session, the chairwoman of the group said Thursday.
Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge, said Tony Fairfax of the Maryland-based Census Channel will be in the state to start reviewing census figures and other data to see whether a second minority district can be drawn.
The consultant also will look at where new majority-minority statehouse districts can be drawn, possibly in the Baton Rouge and Shreveport areas to offset the expected loss of three black-majority House seats and at least one minority Senate seat in the New Orleans area because of a loss of population after the 2005 hurricanes.
The state has one black-majority congressional district now, the seat held by 2nd District Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans. Smith said the House has 27 minority districts but some of those seats are filled by non-African American lawmakers, while the Senate has 10 minority seats and two of them are filled by non-African Americans.
Some non-African American occupants of minority seats, she said, may not be challenged based on their votes crucial to minority issues.
Smith said the caucus will see “if it is a friendly district (toward African-Americans) or a district that can be changed. Is it a person we think can assist us and work with us?”
The census put the state’s minority population at 37 percent, including African Americans, Asians, American Indians and others, but does not include the 4.2 percent Hispanic population, state officials said.