Such is the unfolding story of congressional reapportionment by the Louisiana Legislature.
Results of the 2010 Census require re-drawing of the current seven districts into six new ones.
Seven congressmen, then, are going to vie for six seats the next time around.
Odd-man out, by everyone’s measure, is Jeff Landry, the newest of the congressmen. If he chooses to seek another term, he’ll have to run against an incumbent.
Given that, the delegation is working the Legislature for each one’s favored incumbent-protection plan. While the actual vote is the Legislature’s responsibility, the lobbying is enormous from the congressional camps, and will reach all the way to Gov. Bobby Jindal if it’s thought necessary.
Two plans headed to the Senate floor are the most obvious results of such politicking and should be rejected.
Both would create vertical congressional districts, one anchored by Shreveport, the other by Monroe, that stretched into far South Louisiana.
Imagine a district including Shreveport, Jeff Davis and a great part of Acadia Parish, or Monroe and parishes along Bayou LaFourche.
What do those regions have economically and culturally in common? Not much.
But both would best insulate incumbents John Fleming of Minden and Rodney Alexander of Quitman. Landry and incumbent Charles Boustany would be put into a district snaking its way east to west, here and there along the coast.
Think about that – large portions of Acadiana would be part of districts that stretch to the Arkansas border, while the Lake Charles and Lafayette areas would be in another nestled against the Gulf’s shores.
More logically, two districts would be created horizontally across North Louisiana, creating representation of populaces more alike, and a true Acadiana district would encompass the I-10 corridor Lafayette to Lake Charles.
Carving horizontal North Louisiana districts to keep Republicans Fleming and Alexander from running against each other would require splitting the Monroe area and putting most, if not all, of Alexandria into Alexander’s district and he is said not to be comfortable with that – too many potential challengers, too many registered Democrats.
No one can legitimately argue that Lake Arthur and Shreveport are more kindred than are Shreveport and Monroe or Monroe and Alexandria.
Tossing citizens of Acadiana into districts anchored by either of the North Louisiana metro areas would dilute their Cajun-accented voice. That, we submit, is not the purpose or the spirit of reapportionment.
Congressmen who eat biscuits and white gravy for breakfast are great for a district that does the same.
But a district that prefers boudin with its eggs needs a congressman that does the same.
Editorials represent the opinions of this newspaper, and not of any one individual.