Anyone attempting to analyze the politics of East Baton Rouge Parish would be mistaken to view the entire parish through the context of what’s seen while driving into town along the “new bridge” from the west. East Baton Rouge Parish itself is a politically competitive parish with a gumbo of citizens from within and without Louisiana, and even from foreign countries. This posting will start by explaining the different political universes that make up this diverse parish:
Absentee (ABS) – This refers to anyone voting before Election Day or whose votes are not established as being legitimate votes on Election Day. Traditionally, this vote (which is not allocated to an individual voting precinct) has been heavily Republican, although in 2008, the Democrats executed a successful early voting campaign that resulted in 33,000 largely Democratic early votes, and is was on the basis of this vote that Barack Obama carried East Baton Rouge Parish – only the third time since 1960 that a Democratic presidential candidate was victorious here (the other time was in 1996, when gambling referenda brought a strong Democratic turnout to the polls).
Baker – these are formerly blue collar white precincts north of the airport;
Central – “Central” has been defined here as the staunchly conservative anti tax precincts between the Amite and Comite Rivers;
Choctaw – Blue collar middle class precincts roughly between Florida Blvd and Greenwell Springs Road that include neighborhoods like Monticello, Park Forest, Bellaire, Red Oak, and Villa Del Rey. Strong racial change has occurred in this area in the last 15 years;
Garden District – Technically, I’m lumping together Lakeshore Drive, parts of Southdowns, Webb Park, Capital Heights, and Hundred Oaks in with the Garden District, but these older neighborhoods between College Drive and Park Blvd/Dalrymple tend to be more liberal politically, as opposed to precincts on the other side of College Drive;
Highland/Perkins – These south Baton Rouge neighborhoods southeast of College Drive and south of I-10 tend to have more liberal and more highly educated professionals living here who have consistently given tepid support to staunch conservatives;
Inner City – Refers to the black majority precincts between LSU and Southern generally inside of Airline Highway;
Southeast BR – These generally upper middle income neighborhoods east of College Drive and south of Florida Boulevard have consistently been staunchly Republican and for years were among the most Republican in the entire state;
Zachary – These are the precincts in the northwest part of East Baton Rouge Parish that were recently discovered for its schools, especially after the area broke free from the East Baton Rouge Parish school system several years ago. A mixture of blue collar, upper income, and black neighborhoods.