By: Jeremy Alford
Despite evoking images of Evangelines green oak and Lafayettes blue dogs, the Acadiana Legislative Delegation has steadily expanded its ranks to include lawmakers from more easterly locales. For example, Democratic Rep. Regina Ashford Barrow of Baton Rouge was elected secretary-treasurer of the delegation earlier this month. The Acadiana Delegation, as defined by the Louisiana Legislature, is made up of 22 parishes, many found in the eastern and central part of the state, with members from LaPlace, Destrehan and Belle Chasse. But the so-called Cajun Heartland, where the storied Acadian colonists originally relocated in the 18th century, includes only eight parishes in the Lafayette region. Over the years, there have been some turf wars in the delegation between purists and outsiders. Its always been so hard to agree on things because of that geographic divide, says Sen. Mike Michot of Lafayette, the dean of the delegation. And thats why some of us have come together to form what we call Core Acadiana, which includes legislators from Lafayette and the surrounding parishes. Weve been meeting and will continue meeting.