Prior to 1974, the 1st congressional district was entirely south of Lake Pontchartrain. As a result of population changes reflected in the 1970 U.S. Census and a concern to ensure that the 2nd congressional district was majority African American, the district was redrawn to include the Northshore.[Source Needed] This was done to comply with the Voting Rights Act,[Source Needed] passed in 1965 to enforce constitutional rights of minorities in voting, including the opportunity to elect a representative of their choosing and to redistrict after censuses.
In 1974, the state legislature redefined the 1st congressional district, dropping its precincts south of the lake and adding St. Tammany Parish, which borders Lake Pontchartrain on the north, from the 6th congressional district. Subsequently, the 1st congressional district acquired Tangipahoa and Washington parishes, both north of the lake, from the 6th congressional district.
Correspondingly, the 1st congressional district shed conservative St. Bernard Parish and other areas south of the lake to the 3rd congressional district from 1984 through 2013. Overall, the 1st congressional district has become a very safe district for the Republican Party. Before the 1960s, it was controlled by Democrats, but conservative whites realigned with the Republican Party.[Source Needed]
The number of registered voters north of the lake is, as of 2008, slightly higher than south of the lake; however, the 1st congressional district has yet to be represented by a resident from north of Lake Pontchartrain. The reformulation of the 1st congressional district so that it virtually surrounds "the nation's second-largest saltwater lake" has generated a local joke that in the 1st congressional district of Louisiana, the voters are outnumbered by the fish.
The seat was previously held by former governorBobby Jindal, who was elected after David Vitter retired to successfully run for the U.S. Senate. Republicans have held the seat since 1977. That year Bob Livingston won a special election after Richard Alvin Tonry, who won the seat in 1976, was forced to resign the seat and lost the Democratic primary in the special election.
In 2013, St. Bernard and neighboring Plaquemines Parishes were returned to the first district after nearly 30 years in the Third. The First also picked up much of Lafourche Parish and the southernmost portion of Terrebonne Parish for the first time.
^He was elected along with Michael Hahn, assuming the seat left vacant after J. E. Bouligny's term expired in 1861. Flanders and Hahn were not seated in Congress until the last fifteen days of their terms in February 1863.
^There were so many irregularities in the 1868 election that Congress threw it out. Sypher won the second round.
^Sypher's 1872 re-election was successfully contested by Effingham Lawrence. Sypher lost, but only after the original returns were certified in his favor. After protracted court intervention, Lawrence was declared elected, but just one day (March 3, 1875) remained in the term, and in the meantime Lawrence had lost the 1874 election to Democrat Randall Lee Gibson.