January 1, 2006


Storms changing state politics: Exodus from New Orleans has major -- maybe permanent -- effect (MICHELLE MILLHOLLON and WILL SENTELL, 1/01/06, The Advocate)

Hurricane Katrina has turned Louisiana's political landscape upside down and left Democrats wondering whether the historic storm has permanently crippled their political base.

Those and other conclusions are based on interviews with more than two dozen current and former politicians, leaders of the black community and political operatives. [...]

Any discussion of the issue is limited by caveats and unknowns, such as how many evacuees will return to New Orleans, when they will do so and how many transplants will cast ballots in other parishes.

However, even political figures in the black community -- long supportive of the Democratic Party -- concede that, at least in the short term, Democrats stand to lose from the upheaval in the majority-black city of New Orleans.

"It's a Republican state as long as they don't have people here," said state Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans and chairman of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus.

Richmond said that, while he is confident black voters will return, until they do it will be hard for a Democrat to win statewide office.

Eric Lewis, president of the Baton Rouge Black Chamber of Commerce, agreed.

"This will be an opportunity for Republicans, a changing of the guard so to speak," Lewis said.

State Rep. Charmaine Marchand, a Democrat who represents the devastated Lower 9th Ward, noted that New Orleans has long played a big role in the fate of Democrat and Republican contenders statewide.

"With African-Americans being spread all over the United States, it has diluted the vote of Democrats within the city of New Orleans," Marchand said. What that means, she said, is a state tailored more to Republican candidates.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 1, 2006 4:11 PM

You gotta be kiddin'! They will vote no matter where they reside - even if it's in the cemetary. We're talkin' about DemoRats, you know!

Posted by: obc at January 1, 2006 4:59 PM


Is worse. They will vote in both their "adopted" locales AND somehow in NOLA. Katrina has afforded the Democratic Party an opportunity for national fraud of massive proportions. (BTW. Anectdotal evidence from 2006 elections in Charlotte, NC suggests Dems were very active recruiting evacuees for LOCAL/School Board elections! Imagine what they can do for more meaningful elections.)

Posted by: MGNC at January 1, 2006 5:17 PM

... the Baton Rouge Black Chamber of Commerce ...

'nuf said!

Posted by: erp at January 1, 2006 6:14 PM

Wait until all the people in LA hear about the $600,000 renovation project for the executive floor of the State Capitol (off-limits to the public), while the regular state budget was being cut 10% to 20%. Blanco must be insane. I wonder if Mary Landrieu will defend her on this.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 2, 2006 2:21 PM

Anyone else jarred by the notion that Baton Rouge has a Black Chamber of Commerce? Why is that necessary? Won't the White Chamber of Commerce let blacks in?

Posted by: erp at January 2, 2006 3:14 PM


Without checking Google, I expect that the Black CofC started because they couldn't get into the White one way back when. So it may be archaic, but not as objectionable as it seems.

Posted by: ratbert at January 2, 2006 7:31 PM