Some Gulf Coast delegates leave RNC early for home

11:50 PM, Aug 28, 2012   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- Roughly a dozen delegates from Mississippi and Louisiana left the Republican National Convention early because of Hurricane Isaac's path.

The delegates - roughly nine from Louisiana and a handful from Mississippi - left to tend to their businesses or because they were public officials who needed to be there, according to delegates from both states.

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Roger Villere, chairman of Louisiana's delegation, had words ready during the roll call portion of the RNC.

But with Hurricane Isaac threatening Louisiana, the words were changed last-minute.

"We're proud to be here today, and we thank all of America for their thoughts and prayers with another storm and hurricane coming our way," said Villere to the assembled convention.

Villere says the mission of the convention is important enough that most of the delegates have stayed.  Plus, delegations bring plenty of alternates so the absence of original delegates doesn't pose a problem. But those that remain in Tampa are phoning home often to check on family and friends and businesses.

"It's very serious because my grandkids, a lot of us have all our families, like all my brothers and sisters, our businesses, our homes, they're all in harm's way," said Villere.

Villere and others say the support has been pouring in, and they appreciate the kind words as the Gulf Coast faces yet another hurricane.

"We've been getting a lot of calls and emails, and we just really appreciate everybody's praying for us and we just appreciate it so much, and it just touches our hearts we thank 'em," he said.

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