Black Caucus Hires Consultant to Look at Creating a Second Minority Congressional District

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?”

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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.

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