State rep pitches idea for 65th parish made up of west bank Orleans, Jefferson

State rep pitches idea for 65th parish made up of west bank Orleans, Jefferson

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - As local lawmakers gather this weekend for Washington, D.C. Mardi Gras, State Rep. Jeff Arnold has a new idea to pitch to them. He wants to create a 65th parish in the state made up of the west bank portions of Orleans and Jefferson Parishes, including Algiers.

"It would be like every other parish in the state, not like Orleans; where you have multiple cities in a parish, you have mayoral forms of government, you have a parish president, and overall parish council," Arnold said by phone from Washington. "I just think the best form of government is local government. And I just think if you feel that over the years that you've been slighted - which I think most west bankers would agree that over the years they've been slighted, not intentional - it's just perception. The west bank is different. Fine, let us be our own parish."

At the Hilton Hotel in Washington, the bar is renamed "the 65th Parish" during Mardi Gras. Arnold says he hopes to talk to other lawmakers there and get them on board with his plan.

Back in 2003, Arnold pitched a plan to make Algiers its own city within Orleans Parish. The Mayor of New Orleans and the New Orleans City Council fought that plan.

On Thursday, Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office released the following statement:

"Historically, economically, and culturally, Algiers is a very important part of the New Orleans community. So, passing this legislation would be unwise."

Jefferson Parish President John Young's office said he would not comment on the plan until a bill is filed.

Tulane Political Analyst Mike Sherman said he doesn't believe Arnold is actually trying to change the state's map.

"You know, sometimes people introduce a bill to have it become a law through the legislative process. Other times you introduce a bill to bring attention to an issue. I think this is a case of the latter," Sherman said.

The legislature convenes in April.

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