Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – Senate District 39

Incumbent – Lydia Jackson (D – Term limited in 2015)

District Map

Senate District 39


Vote History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 12560 (29%) 13066 (28%)
Barack Obama (D) 30480 (70%) 34027 (72%)
Others 274 (1%) 294 (1%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 30660 (75%) 34103 (76%)
John Kennedy (R) 9810 (24%) 10211 (23%)
Others 584 (1%) 629 (1%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 8334 (31%) 8649 (30%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 16820 (62%) 18694 (64%)
Others 1795 (7%) 1960 (7%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 7617 (28%) 7911 (27%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 19540 (72%) 21660 (73%)

Current District

Senate District 39 is located in Shreveport/northern Caddo Parish, and was reconfigured in 1983 to elect a black senator, and in fact it was the only black majority state senate district outside of Baton Rouge and New Orleans until 1991. At initial glance, the district appears to be mostly rural, as it includes the northern portion of Caddo Parish all the way to the Arkansas border. Closer inspection, however, reveals that the district really has three distinct parts. Inner-city neighborhoods in the western half of Shreveport contain about 2/3 of the voters and are nearly all black. The suburban fringe northwest of Shreveport near Cross Lake and the town of Blanchard casts about 20% of the vote and is about 25% black. The remainder of the district is a rural portion of Caddo Parish between Blanchard and the Arkansas line, which contains about 10% of the voters and is about 20% black.

Overall, you have a district that is 66% black by voter registration (up from 63% several years ago) and is solidly Democratic. Thanks to the predominance of the inner city portions of Shreveport, Democrats start off with a solid majority of the vote, and typically get about 70-75% of the vote in most contested elections.

The district’s Senate representation has also been predictable: only two of the elections since 1983 have even been contested. Greg Tarver, the first black senator from Shreveport, defeated a white incumbent in the 1983 runoff and served for five terms, with little competition for his seat. When he retired in 2003, state representative Lydia Jackson succeeded him with little competition in 2003, and was unopposed in 2007. She is allowed to seek another term.

Proposed District

Redistricting in northwest Louisiana was a simple process: though the district was 7% under populated, all that had to be done was the addition of five inner city precincts from neighboring districts. These changes slightly increased the black voter registration from 66 to 67%. The district will therefore remain heavily Democratic, and Senator Jackson shouldn’t have an issue with re-election from a demographic standpoint.