Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – Senate District 6

District Map


Senate District 6


Vote History

2008 Presidential Race
  Current District Proposed District
Barack Obama (D) 18909 (30%) 15367 (27%)
John McCain (R) 42729 (68%) 40159 (71%)
Others 1090 (2%) 784 (2%)


2008 Senate Race
  Current District Proposed District
Mary Landrieu (D) 27013 (44%) 21688 (39%)
John Kennedy (R) 33215 (54%) 32719 (59%)
Others 1377 (2%) 1098 (2%)


2010 Senate Race
  Current District Proposed District
David Vitter (R) 29296 (68%) 26553 (68%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 12015 (28%) 10360 (27%)
Others 1859 (4%) 2088 (5%)


2010 Lt Governor’s Race
  Current District Proposed District
Jay Dardenne (R) 29926 (70%) 27802 (71%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 13131 (30%) 11171 (29%)

Current District

District 6 was an elongated district originally created during the 1991 reapportionment to complicate the re-election prospects of then (and late) senator John Hainkel (R-New Orleans). It started in Uptown New Orleans in the affluent neighborhoods near Tulane and Loyola Universities. The district then traveled up the 17th Street Canal to include affluent Old Metairie and more working class Bucktown (which was an old fishing village). The district then crossed Lake Pontchartrain to include the fast growing St Tammany Parish suburbs of Mandeville and Madisonville. Finally, District 6 crossed into Tangipahoa Parish to include parts of Hammond and Ponchatoula. Demographically, you had a district with a low 12% black voter registration and a decided Republican tilt, although it’s worth noting that white liberal precincts in Uptown New Orleans, combined with black precincts along Highway 51 in Hammond, gave the Democrats a perceptible presence.

Typically, the existing district gave Republicans about 70% of the vote, although Mary Landrieu’s visibility after Hurricane Katrina enabled her to carry Jefferson/Orleans 49-48% over Kennedy, and she overall received 44% of the district vote. The district for over three decades was represented by Republican John Hainkel. After serving nearly 20 years in the state House (during the Treen administration, he was the Speaker), he ran for the vacated state Senate seat in 1987 and was elected with 84% of the vote. Because he was considered a supporter of then-Governor Buddy Roemer, he was a target of the 1991 reapportionment after opponents of the administration retook the Senate Presidency in 1990 in a leadership coup. To make Sen. Hainkel’s re-election more difficult, he was given unfamiliar territory across Lake Pontchartrain in St. Tammany and Tangipahoa Parishes and, in fact, his re-election percentage fell to 62% of the vote in 1991 (he only received 53% of the vote in the Northshore precincts added to the district). After that contest, he took the time to make himself known to his new constituents, and he never again had re-election problems. Near the end of his career, Hainkel also had the distinction of serving as Senate President from 2000 to 2004. Before his death in 2005, he continued to wield power behind the scenes and was considered one of the leaders of the “loyal opposition” to the Blanco administration.

In a special election held after his death, seven candidates ran for the open seat, with the ultimate victor’s being Republican Julie Quinn. She won the runoff with 51% over former legislator Diane Winston (R-Covington), with a strong vote from Jefferson and Orleans Parishes, as well as a surprising 46% showing in Tangipahoa Parish. Though she was re-elected in 2007 with 57% against two Republican opponents, she decided not to seek re-election this year.

Proposed District

Despite the fact that there was heavy population growth along the Northshore portions of the district (the district was 18% overpopulated compared to the ideal district population), population losses in adjacent districts in Orleans and Jefferson Parish pushed the district out of Orleans, Jefferson, and St Tammany Parish. The new district is now shaped like an upside down “U”. It includes roughly the same precincts in Tangipahoa Parish, although the removal of some precincts near the Livingston Parish line has increased the black percentage of the Tangipahoa Parish portion. The district then picks up portions of Livingston and St Helena Parishes on the way to East Baton Rouge Parish. In East Baton Rouge Parish, the district travels down the Amite River to include portions of Central, Shenandoah, White Oak Landing, and Azalea Lakes. Though 59% of the voters live in East Baton Rouge, 22% live in precincts north of Florida Boulevard that tend to be more blue collar conservative. This means that the Central precincts will likely hold the balance of power in terms of who ultimately wins the district this fall.

Overall, it is almost guaranteed that a Republican will be elected in this new district. Even though the black voter registration percentage increased from 12 to 21%, that is counterbalanced by the substitution of liberal uptown New Orleans precincts for conservative neighborhoods in East Baton Rouge Parish. The overall effect of this substitution is a new district marginally more conservative than the old district was.