In a passionate speech that made frequent references to his seven-week old daughter Kate, State Rep Walt Leger laid out his vision for New Orleans and Louisiana’s future to a packed, appreciative audience of business, tourism and political leaders at his fundraiser Monday night. With a rousing introduction by Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Leger delivered what could easily be considered an opening salvo in the 2017 mayor’s race.
One Uptown-based lawmaker will face three opponents in his newly drawn district in the Oct. 22 election, while the rest of the area’s legislative delegation appears likely to return to Baton Rouge without a re-election fight.
Arrests made in a sprawling weekend gun battle and police assurances that their investigations into the violence remain active brought little comfort Wednesday night to Irish Channel residents, who say the sound of gunfire still occurs all too frequently in their neighborhood.
Three separate shooting incidents took place Saturday afternoon, all of which appear to stem from the same argument between two rival neighborhood groups, police said Wednesday at the Sixth District’s monthly meeting with community members.
A plan to divvy most of the Carrollton, Audubon and university neighborhoods among three Jefferson Parish and Lakeview-based districts in the state House of Representatives narrowly failed Tuesday, leaving all of Uptown represented by three New Orleans-based lawmakers.
State Reps. Helena Moreno, Walt Leger and Neil Abramson led the attack on the Jefferson Parish plan, describing it as Jefferson Parish’s blatant attempt to gain more seats without regard for the will of voters or the integrity of neighborhoods in New Orleans.
“This is just slicing and dicing New Orleans up,” Abramson said. “This plan from Jefferson Parish is their attempt to get them 100 percent whole at the expense of New Orleans.”
After years of representation in Baton Rouge by Jefferson Parish lawmakers, Carrollton residents see this year’s redistricting process as a chance to rejoin their neighbors in New Orleans, they told a panel of legislators in charge of the process Thursday night.
Similarly, the Irish Channel is seeking to have its neighborhood voice reunited in one legislative district, and at least one local state lawmaker called that request a goal he shares.
Uptown New Orleans could be represented by as few as three seats when the state House of Representatives is redistricted using the new Census numbers this year, according to an analysis by Bill Barrow and Ed Anderson of the Times-Picayune.
“Your quality of life is so greatly enhanced by having a vehicle patrolling the neighborhood,” said association marketing director Kellie Grengs as she presented the idea at a Monday night meeting. “You all of a sudden have another pair of eyes on the neighborhood.”