Little or no changes proposed for Uptown under City Council redistricting maps

Most of Uptown New Orleans appears likely to avoid a political tug-of-war over redrawing City Council boundaries, though one proposal would change the representation for a handful of neighborhoods along Jefferson Avenue. Of the five proposed redistricting plans unveiled this weekend, four show no changes to representation Uptown whatsoever, and one slides six voting precincts along Jefferson Avenue from Councilwoman Susan Guidry’s District A into Councilwoman Stacy Head’s District B.

For the last decade, all of Uptown has been divided between districts A and B along a line that runs the length of Jefferson Avenue from the river to Fontainebleau, then heads up Carrollton toward Mid-City. Guidry represents everything upriver of Jefferson into Lakeview (including the Audubon, Carrollton, Riverbend, and Leonidas neighborhoods); Head represents everyone downriver into the Central Business District (including Freret, Milan, Touro, the Garden Distirct and the Irish Channel); and both reach into parts of Mid-City. District A lost fewer people since 2000 than the rest of the city, so Guidry will have to give up some territory. District B’s population loss was about the same rate as the city as a whole, so it does not need any changes at all, and under some of the possible scenarios it simply is left touched.

Private patrols or off-duty officers under consideration by Fontainebleau, university-area residents

A neighborhood association that stretches from some of Uptown’s most placid blocks to some that have suffered through open warfare between criminals and police is now exploring the idea of increasing its police presence with off-duty officers. The Claiborne-University Neighborhood Association held a sort of fact-finding session Thursday night about fee-based security districts, the first in what association president Scott Barron said would be a series of meetings informing residents about the concept. Security districts, used in a number of Uptown neighborhoods, usually levy an additional fee of several hundred dollars onto each property owner’s tax bill within a strictly defined area. That money is then used by a board of neighborhood residents to hire additional patrol officers (either off-duty NOPD officers or a private security team) who patrol only that area, from investigating complaints of suspicious activity to escorting residents to and from their homes at night. In order to be implemented in the Claiborne-University area, the association would first have to vote to request state Rep. Neil Abramson to draft a bill authorizing the district, and then residents inside the district would have to approve it in a special election.