Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – House District 53

Incumbent – Damon Baldone (D – Term Limited in 2011)

District Map


House District 53



House District 53 (Houma inset)


Voting History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 11159 (69%) 11250 (68%)
Barack Obama (D) 4573 (28%) 4934 (30%)
Others 406 (3%) 407 (2%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 7712 (50%) 8037 (51%)
John Kennedy (R) 7353 (48%) 7446 (47%)
Others 384 (2%) 393 (2%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 6439 (64%) 6507 (62%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 3138 (31%) 3356 (32%)
Others 532 (5%) 550 (5%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 6614 (66%) 6684 (65%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 3431 (34%) 3666 (35%)

Current District

House District 53 is a long narrow strip of eastern Terrebonne parish, as well as an adjacent precinct in Lafourche Parish, that stretches from Houma all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. It contains a relatively stable 16% black voter population.

Politically, this was once a swing district. It would vote heavily Republican in most statewide races, while also supporting Mary Landrieu and Kathleen Blanco. In last year’s elections, however, it swung heavily to the right (the drilling moratorium surely played a part here) and strongly supported Republicans in contested races for Senate, Congress, and Lt. Governor, despite the fact that Charlie Melancon was its Congressman for 6 years.

This political behavior has not yet been reflected in its legislative representation, although curiously this district has had considerable turnover in its representation – its occupants sooner or later have sought another office. The current representative, Damon Baldone, was victorious in a 2001 special election when his predecessor was elected to the state Senate. He has never had an easy time with re-election; in fact, in his 2007 re-election race, a Republican held him to 57% of the vote. Term limits prevent him from seeking another term this year.

Proposed District

Redistricting in this part of the state was a simple process, because the district had 2% more people than the “ideal” district, and there is not a sufficient minority population in Terrebonne or Lafourche to draw a “majority minority” district. Since a 5% variance is allowed in district drawing, only minor changes had to be made: three precincts were swapped between District 53 and next door District 52 (held by Republican Gordon Dove). These changes increased the black voter registration from 16 to 18%, and Democratic performance in races here slightly improved. This is truly a tossup race: while Republicans usually win the top of the ballot races, Democrats still have a strong bench in the bayou. Will the drilling moratorium cast a shadow on any Democrat running ? And do the Republicans have an attractive candidate or candidates who can run?