Today, a state Senate committee met to discuss one of the proposed congressional district maps.
Tomorrow, the Senate committee meets again, and a House committee meets for the first time to discuss four proposed maps from that chamber.
One of those testifying at the hearing today was Mayor President Josh Guillory appeared to speak against State Sen. Cleo Fields' plan, which creates two majority-minority districts. Also on Thursday, a federal judge rejected requests from the legislature to extend her Monday deadline for districts that comply with the Constitution and Federal Voting Rights Act. She previously ruled that the plan passed by the legislature this spring did not comply with either, and sent solons back to the drawing board to create a plan that includes two majority-minority districts.
Guillory spoke against Fields' plan, saying it placed Lafayette Parish, and the City of Lafayette, in two different congressional districts.
"It separates our parish. It divides our parish," Guillory said. "This particular map would divide northern parts of Lafayette and St. Martin parishes, and includes a sizeable amount of the city of Lafayette, which means it would so it would separate a large part of our city."
Guillory referred to the northside-southside divide in Lafayette, describing it as "a racial divide" and saying that "we have worked really hard over the last 30 years as a community, particularly in the city of Lafayette to keep us on the path of unification as opposed to being divided."
"If you think you're helping the minority voice... we don't believe it would be strengthened that way," he said. "Because majority of their district would be farther north, not south. It's only natural.... for you to go to what's closer to you."
Guillory said "dividing us up on our federal voice - it would not help the cause."
Guillory said that the parish shouldn't be divided because the people who live share a culture; he said Lafayette Parish "is majority Catholic," and shares Cajun and Creole roots, Cajun and Zydeco music and a related tourism industry that is critical to the economy.
He said Carencro would be in a separate congressional district, and they would have "minimal representation" because that new district would be so geographically large.
State Sen. Ed Price, D-Gonzales, a member of the committee, pointed out to Guillory that Orleans, Jefferson, Ascension, Iberville, Assumption and East Baton Rouge parishes are all split by the redistricting plan.
"We'd all like to have our parishes whole," he said. "In the map that's already been enacted, there are more split parishes than there are in this map."
The region known as "Acadiana" already is represented by three different members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Here's the current district map:
If you'd like to see Guillory's full testimony, click here.
Guillory's testimony starts at about 2:28:05