The Evangeline Parish Police Jury tonight (Monday) introduced three redistricting plans including a plan supported by the NAACP which calls for a third minority district. In a public hearing tonight, just before a special meeting, the jury took comments from the general public over the three proposed plans.
Plan A, recommended by the Evangeline Parish Chapter of the NAACP, redraws Mamou District 3 and extends the district from Mamou all the way to Ville Platte. In order to create the district, Demographer Mike Heffner had to split 8 precincts to build the minority population to 53.6 percent. That plan also moves District 8 juror Ryan Williams out of his district and into new District 3. Heffner feels that the major changes under this plan including deviations in the mean population levels could open the door to a Section 2 challenge under the Voting Rights Act.
Plans 1 and 1A only make minor changes to the voting districts and according to Heffner meets all the criteria of Section 2 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
Evangeline Parish NAACP President Arthur Sampson announced that his organization will object any plan other than their own supported plan.
A public hearing will be held June 6 at 5;00pm followed by a special meeting at 5:30 to decide on a reapportionment plan to submit to the U.S. Justice Department.
It was also announced at the meeting that Governor Bobby Jindal has appointed J.D. Soileau to serve as District One police juror to fill the unexpired term of Davis Manuel through the rest of the year.
In other business, the police jury voted to submit a proposal to the state for a new juvenile detention center. Vice President Bryan Vidrine announced that the parish will recommend a parcel of land on East Lincoln near Cleco for the proposed site. The jury voted to spend up to $50,000 toward the purchase price for the land from the property owner.
It was announced that the City of Ville Platte and the Town of Mamou are both planning to donate city owned property for the detention center.