A new municipal district for the Lower 9th Ward? Redrawn maps could move area to District C | Local policy

The New Orleans City Council released a second set of proposed changes to its map of council districts, and with a final vote just days away, most of the new maps add a major change to district borders that didn’t appear in any of the previous propositions. .

The Lower 9th Ward is moved from District E to District C in three of four newly drawn maps, all of which aim to redistribute the town’s residents among the council’s five wards based on new 2020 census demographics.

The move, if approved, would represent a significant shift in the representation of the Lower 9th Ward in city politics. The Lower 9th, including the Holy Cross neighborhood, has historically been grouped with New Orleans East in District E, which covers nearly all parts of the city area east of the Industrial Canal.

The proposed change, made public on Monday, was not well received by District E council member Oliver Thomas, who grew up in the Lower 9th Ward and said he was surprised to see the change in map projects newly published.

“I don’t know where it came from,” Thomas said, adding that he “vehemently” opposed it.

Population displacements

Four earlier maps created by City Council consultant FLO Analytics and released last month focused primarily on the shifting border between District C and District D.

These two municipal districts have flip-flopped in population ranking among the five municipal districts over the past decade. District C, which currently includes Algiers, the French Quarter, and downstream neighborhoods, had the largest population in 2010 and now has the smallest. District D, which covers all of Gentilly and parts of several adjacent neighborhoods, was the smallest in 2010 and is now the largest, according to the 2020 census.

Claiborne Avenue generally serves as the border between District C and District D, dividing historic neighborhoods like Treme, St. Roch, the 7th Ward, and St. Claude along the way.

“historical relationships”

The Claiborne Avenue-St. The Avenue Claude Corridor that connects these neighborhoods stretches across the Industrial Canal to the lower 9th Arrondissement, so there is a geographic connection on paper.

But Thomas said the proposals ignore the social and family ties that bind the Lower 9th Ward more closely to eastern New Orleans than to neighborhoods across the canal.

NO.orleanselections.071521.002.jpg (copy)

New Orleans City Councilman Oliver Thomas files his campaign materials in Criminal District Court on Tulane Avenue on July 14, 2021. (Staff Photo by David Grunfeld, The Times-Picayune)

“Most people, especially in terms of my lineage and my family, people I know from the Lower 9, live in New Orleans East. So there are historical relationships there,” Thomas said. “What that tells me is that the people who would make that recommendation don’t understand the natural history and the relationship.”

District C council member Freddie King III did not respond to requests for comment.

Listening sessions

Lower 9th Ward and Industrial Canal

An August 2014 image of the Lower 9th Ward near the Industrial Canal. (Times-Picayune photo by Ted Jackson)

The council’s redistricting consultant completed the revised maps over the weekend, following a series of online forums last week seeking public comment on early drafts. Council staff received 95 comments, although only a handful made it to the online forums.

Twice a day we’ll send you the day’s headlines. Register today.

An open house and two “listening sessions” Monday in the council chambers were the only chance for the public to provide in-person comment before the council votes on a final map on Wednesday, which is the deadline for council members adopt a new map as part of the city charter.

If they don’t, council members lose their pay until a commission of college presidents completes the job for them.

Calvin Alexander, president of the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association, said he doesn’t know anyone who supports moving his neighborhood to a new municipal district.

“It hasn’t been widely accepted by anyone that I know of,” Alexander said. “With us being cut off from the rest of the city by the canal, it brings us together anyway, naturally.”

An alternate card

Pushing the District C boundary further towards Lake Pontchartrain into areas now in District D could balance the districts while respecting traditional neighborhood boundaries.

All four map drafts last month made this change in one way or another, but only one of the final drafts – the one that doesn’t affect the Lower 9th Ward – incorporated this change.

Redistricting final map 1

The other three final draft maps maintain the District C-District D boundary where it is, or push the boundary in the opposite direction, toward Avenue Saint-Claude.

All maps that move the Lower 9th Ward to District C also move part of eastern New Orleans along the Downman Road corridor from District D to District E.


The Interstate 10 high-rise bridge allows commuters living east of New Orleans to cross the Industrial Canal into downtown New Orleans. (Photo by Max Becherer, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

One of the maps places the central business district in District C, the Lakeshore and Lake Vista subdivisions in District A, and a small portion of Mid-City around Carrollton Avenue and Canal Street in District B.

Six people spoke during the first listening session on Monday, the majority of whom said council members had not allowed enough time for an inclusive process.

General Council member JP Morrell said he would be the author of a charter amendment to ensure that future redistricting processes begin earlier and also allow the council to expand, which would allow districts smaller and potentially easier groupings. These proposals would need voter approval to go into effect.

“There’s certainly a very good argument that even increasing the council by two council seats could potentially alleviate some of these issues, as far as groups with similar interests are concerned,” Morrell said.

Redistricting final map 1

Final map redrawing 2

Final map redrawing 3

Final map redrawing 4

Purchases made through links on our site may earn us an affiliate commission

Comments are closed.