Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – House District 95

District Map

House District 95


Voting History


2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 2693 (18%) 12809 (86%)
Barack Obama (D) 12230 (80%) 1856 (12%)
Others 280 (2%) 297 (2%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 12272 (84%) 4632 (32%)
John Kennedy (R) 2016 (14%) 9589 (65%)
Others 380 (3%) 456 (3%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 1794 (19%) 7567 (76%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 7300 (77%)  1686 (17%)
Others 432 (5%) 676 (7%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 2254 (24%) 7434 (75%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 7227 (76%) 2481 (25%)

Current District

District 95 was a compact district located in the city of New Orleans, in an area bordered roughly by the Mississippi River, Tulane/Loyola universities, the Orleans Parish line, and I-10. It was a racially mixed district containing black African-American neighborhoods along Claiborne/the Jefferson Parish line, students registered to vote at Tulane and Loyola Universities, and majority white Uptown neighborhoods.

Demographically, the district was once a 55% black majority district, but demographic changes after Katrina have diluted the black voter registration to 47%. Still, this demographic, combined with white liberal Uptowners and students creates a formidable Democratic majority. Typically, Republicans get about 20% of the vote here. Bobby Jindal’s 34% of the vote in 2007 (30% in 2003) was pretty good for a Republican, but even then, he received only narrow majorities of the vote from students and Uptowners, although he did receive an impressive 10-15% of the African-American vote.

Democrats have been securely in control of the district for years, but despite the district’s former black majority, candidates of both races have been elected here at different times. In 1987, an African-American, Irma Muse Dixon, was elected, comfortably re-elected in 1991, and served until her election to the Public Service Commission in 1992. She was succeeded by African-American Paulette Irons, who did not serve her entire term; she was elected to an open state Senate seat in 1994. Rep. Irons was succeeded by a white Democrat, Alex Heaton, who defeated a black Republican with 62% of the vote in the 1995 special election. In the regular 1995 primary, he was re-elected with 68%. He was held to 55% of the vote in 1999 and was unopposed in 2003.

Representative Heaton was term-limited in 2007. Interestingly, he switched parties earlier that year, presumably to run for another office. He briefly flirted with running against incumbent Republican state senator Julie Quinn but backed out of the race shortly after qualifying. Though seven Democrats and a Republican sought the open seat, two white Democrats – former Orleans Parish School Board member Una Anderson (who finished first with 33%) and former Chris John aide Walker Hines – made the runoff. What may have tipped the balance towards Hines in the runoff was bribery allegations made against Una Anderson in the runoff. Hines ended up winning the runoff 53-47%, with about equal percentages overall in the white and African-American neighborhoods. Though Rep. Hines probably had no re-election worries, he, like Alex Heaton before him, switched parties late last year, although in this case, the switch was made with the intention of running for Secretary of State.

Proposed District

Population losses in Orleans and Jefferson Parish made redistricting a tricky proposition for the area: the district ended up having 21% less population than needed for a state representative district. Additionally, the fact that you had a recent Republican convert vacating a district that gave David Vitter 19% of the vote (Jay Dardenne received 24%) made this seat an easy target for elimination. The generally black portions of the district north of Claiborne Avenue were put into the district of Rep. Walt Leger (D-New Orleans), while the more white liberal portions of the district south of Claiborne were given to Rep. Neil Abramson (D-New Orleans).

The new district has been relocated to Livingston Parish. It covers roughly the territory between I-12 and the St Helena Parish line east of Denham Springs. It has a negligible (4%) black voter registration, and in recent elections has generally given at least 3 to 1 margins for Republican candidates, with a near unanimous 86% for John McCain in 2008. This is an area where a conservative Republican, particularly one with TEA Party support, should do well.