Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – Senate District 1

Incumbent – A.G. Crowe (R – Term Limited in 2019)

District Map

Senate District 1


Vote History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 24306 (67%) 36750 (71%)
Barack Obama (D) 11093 (31%) 14018 (27%)
Others 824 (2%) 939 (2%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 18739 (53%) 22906 (45%)
John Kennedy (R) 15572 (44%) 26219 (52%)
Others 894 (3%) 1267 (3%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 13677 (59%) 22825 (67%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 7695 (33%) 9309 (27%)
Others 1706 (7%) 1885 (6%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 13706 (60%) 22522 (67%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 9092 (40%) 11194 (33%)

 Current District

Senate District 1 is located at the eastern edge of the state and contains all or part of four parishes: all of St. Bernard Parish, Plaquemines Parish except for the area around Belle Chasse, a precinct in Orleans Parish in the Lake Catherine area, and a part of St. Tammany Parish that contains eastern Slidell and Pearl River.

Demographically, the district is mostly white working class. It has a black voter registration of 18%, which is up from 11% several years ago, with the increases occurring in each of the parishes. Though this district has historically been the “St. Bernard district”, St. Bernard Parish now casts only 42% of the district’s vote. The district’s portion of Plaquemines Parish casts another 14%, and the remaining 44% of the vote is cast in St. Tammany (Orleans Parish’s portion of the district is one tiny remote precinct). This is one of several districts hit hard by Hurricane Katrina, and St Bernard Parish has lost 47% of its population since the 2000 Census.

Overall, Senate District 1 favors Republicans in contested statewide races, although it voted for Mary Landrieu 53-44% in 2008, due to her visibility in the aftermath of Katrina. This Republican preference is district-wide, except for the portion of Plaquemines Parish in the district (the more Republican precincts around Belle Chasse were placed in Sen. David Heitmeier’s district).

Despite this Republican preference at the top of the ballot, it’s only recently that Republicans have begun to win local elections here. For 26 years, St. Bernard Parish Democrat Sammy Nunez represented the area and served as the Senate President for all but 2 years from 1983 until 1995. He was defeated in the 1995 runoff by Republican Lynn Dean. Sen. Dean received strong Democratic opposition in 1999, and was narrowly re-elected – in both cases, his margins in St. Bernard Parish pulled him through. Sen. Dean retired in 2003, and was replaced by another Republican, Walter Boasso, who easily won the runoff with over 60% of the vote. While he carried St Bernard heavily, it didn’t hurt that the district was redrawn in 2003 to include portions of St Tammany Parish around Slidell and Pearl River. Boasso vacated the seat after a single term to run unsuccessfully for Governor – as a Democrat. He was succeeded by a Republican from St. Tammany Parish, state representative A.G. Crowe. Though Rep. Crowe was at a geographic disadvantage, he defeated a term-limited Democrat from St. Bernard Parish 52-48% by carrying the St. Tammany precincts 3 to 1. Senator Crowe can serve until 2019 under the term limits law.

Proposed District

One of the epicenters of the destruction Hurricane Katrina (and, to a lesser extent, Rita) unleashed on New Orleans was in the precincts of District 1. Accordingly, there were major population losses in the district: despite the growth in the St Tammany precincts, the district was still 23% under populated relative to the population of an “ideal” Senate district.

This under population, as well as the under population of other Senate districts in the New Orleans metropolitan area, meant that the district had to take in new territory. It moved further into St Tammany, taking in the rest of Slidell, and moving north of Pearl River. This increased the influence of St Tammany Parish from 44 to 84% of the district. At the same time, the rest of the west bank of Plaquemines Parish was removed, as was a string of precincts in St Bernard between Arabi and Meraux west of Paris Road and south of Judge Perez.

These changes reduced the black population from 18 to 15% and fortified the Republican preferences of the district to the point that Republicans can expect 2 to 1 margins out of the district, and a St Tammany Republican is heavily favored to be elected from this district now. Senator Crowe should have little trouble being re-elected.