Demographer presents revised districting plan for West Feliciana

ST. FRANCISVILLE The West Feliciana Parish Police Jury’s demographer presented a revised plan Monday for dividing the parish into four districts for electing parish council members, as required by a new home-rule charter.

But jurors still had many questions about his numbers.

The jury agreed to call a public hearing on the two plans at a later date, depending on when the hearing can be advertised in the parish’s official journal.

Demographer Cedric Floyd said he made changes to the plan presented earlier this year as a result of public meetings.

His new plan puts the Lake Rosemound area into one district rather than splitting it and moves 39 people from his proposed District B to District C.

Residents had asked for the changes, he said.

Parish voters approved a charter in November that calls for replacing the seven-member Police Jury with a parish president, four parish council members elected from single-member districts and a fifth council member elected in parishwide balloting.

Four candidates are running for parish president in an Oct. 19 election: Jurors John Kean and Lea Williams, former state Rep. Tom McVea and businessman Kevin Couhig.

Most of the charter’s provisions will go into effect when the president takes office.

Floyd’s latest plan has two majority-black districts and two with white majorities. However, the populations of the districts fluctuate significantly.

Floyd’s proposed District C, which covers a large part of the western side of the parish, has the most people, 3,113, while District D has 2,991 people.

But Districts A and B have 1,826 and 2,542 people, respectively.

The difference in population from the most populous to the least populous is 1,287.

Despite the population differences, Floyd contended his plans are more in balance than districts the U.S. Department of Justice and the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office approved after the 2010 census.

“The numbers don’t say that,” Juror Mel Percy countered.

During a meeting earlier this year, attorney Jerald Jones told jurors that Floyd’s plan is illegal because of the district’s widely varying populations, but Floyd said Monday that Louisiana has no law regarding population variances in election districts.

“The only time you can challenge an imbalance is in federal court,” Floyd said.