I continue to be amused by Cokie and Steve Roberts’ column on gerrymandering.
Does anyone wonder why the 2nd Congressional District in Louisiana is so profoundly convoluted? In fact, it is due to the political machinations of Cokie’s father, T. Hale Boggs Sr.
Boggs, faced with an increasing conservative movement and fearing the loss of his seat in the House of Representatives, needed to do something to protect his re-election. His answer: gerrymander the 2nd District.
As explained by the late John Hainkel Jr. (former speaker of the Louisiana House and former president of the Louisiana Senate), Boggs sent his people to Baton Rouge to dictate the changes to the 2nd Congressional District. However, the instructions were given so abruptly as to which precincts were to be excluded, and which minority precincts were to be included, four precincts in Kenner were completely left out. They were not included in any of Louisiana’s congressional districts.
After the error was discovered, the Boggs redistricting bill had to be amended to allow the residents in the four precincts to be represented in the U.S. Congress.
To this day, the Louisiana 2nd District remains an absolutely “safe” Democratic seat.