Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – House District 94

Incumbent – Nick Lorusso (R – Term Limited in 2019)

District Map

House District 94

Vote History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 7396 (51%) 13372 (66%)
Barack Obama (D) 6657 (46%) 6400 (32%)
Others 401 (3%) 468 (2%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 8877 (62%) 10032 (50%)
John Kennedy (R) 5096 (36%) 9609 (48%)
Others 344 (2%) 434 (2%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 5707 (49%) 9959 (64%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 5411 (47%) 4988 (32%)
Others 464 (4%) 628 (4%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 6226 (54%) 10407 (67%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 5362 (46%) 5128 (33%)

 Current District

House District 94 is located in New Orleans and is anchored in the Lakeview section of town. However, it would be more accurate to look at the district through the prism of four distinct areas: (1) affluent neighborhoods along Lakeshore Drive and near Old Metairie, (2) middle to upper middle income precincts in the Lakeview section of town, (3) a handful of precincts in Gentilly (just to the east of City Park) that are racially mixed, and (4) territory just to the south of City Park (also known as the Midcity area) which are similarly racially mixed.

This is a district which has a relatively small black population (14% of registered voters, which is an uptick from 11% a decade ago). Politically, this is a Republican leaning district that actually has considerable variation within its boundaries. The heart of the district (Lakeview/Lakeshore Drive) is where 59% of the vote is still cast. This area is 3% black and is the one place in New Orleans where conservatives can get a respectable vote: David Vitter carried these precincts 65-31%. The Midcity area casts another 30% of the vote, is more racially mixed (21% of the voters here are black) and is quite liberal: Charlie Melancon carried this area 70-25%. The Gentilly precincts (which cast the remaining 11% of the vote) were once white middle class, but demographic changes have made this a racially mixed neighborhood where 50% of the voters are black. This is also a Democratic stronghold: Charlie Melancon carried this area 70-26%.

Despite the fact that this is marginally a Republican district on paper, Republicans have securely held this district for decades. “Peppi” Bruneau was originally elected as an Independent in 1975, but he was part of a group of legislators who in 1984 switched parties out of protest against former Governor Edwards’ massive tax increase that was passed. He served until right before term limits forced him out in 2007 with little incident, and between 1983-2003, he only was opposed once (he still won overwhelmingly).

In an attempt to have his son Jeb succeed him (and gain the advantage of incumbency for the fall 2007 elections), Rep. Bruneau resigned in early 2007. However, Jeb lost 60-40% to Republican attorney Nick Lorusso. In the fall elections, Jeb’s brother Adrian ran against Lorusso, as did Democrat Deborah Langhoff (who finished a close 3rd in the spring special election). Lorusso led 49-29% in the primary against Langhoff, and in the runoff, he picked up most of the vote Bruneau received in the primary to win comfortably with 62% – he swept Lakeview/the Lakeshore Drive area with 76%, and in the Democratic precincts, he got 45% of the vote. He is allowed to serve two more terms.

New District

Hurricane Katrina was devastating to the district, as the levee along the 17th Street Canal collapsed and sent a wall of water through most of the district. Even though Lakeview has begun to come back, the district was still 27% under populated. Since you had small population losses in East Jefferson, District 94 was basically combined with District 81 (represented by Republican John LaBruzzo), and the extremities of each district were shorn off. In New Orleans, that meant that the Gentilly precincts and most of the Midcity precincts south of City Park Avenue were given to District 97 (represented by black Democrat Jared Brossett). In Metairie, that meant that District 81 lost Old Metairie, and the remnants of District 81 (most of the area north of Veterans) were then absorbed by District 94. 

These changes reduced the black voter registration from 14 to 7%, and created a district that is pretty heavily Republican. This will be an interesting contest, because 58% of the district’s voters live in New Orleans. While Lorusso would (from a numerical standpoint) have the upper hand in this faceoff, Labruzzo can’t be counted out.