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Gustav's winds and McCain's plane reach all the way to St. Paul

August 31, 2008 |  7:00 pm

ST. PAUL -- Hurricane Gustav reached to the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center today, where Louisiana’s delegation to the Republican National Convention here crowded into a Crowne Plaza Hotel lobby.

Having just arrived, some were staying. Others were planning to return home. All were checking in back home on their friends and relatives.

Before coming to Minnesota, Lloyd and Jill Harsch had cleared out their kitchen pantry and refrigerator, boarded up their home, and carried boxes of photographs to the second story of their home in Gentilly Parish of New Orleans.

“I’d love to be home," said Lloyd. "But if I were going back to New Orleans, I’d be arrested.” The 47-year-old alternate delegate added, “I figured that right now, I’m at the best place I can be.”

Others cheered at news that the John McCain-Sarah Palin campaign had chartered a DC-9 plane to fly members of the Gulf Coast delegations to Jackson, Miss.

Vickie and Rhett Davis, delegates from Walker, La., had left their four children with Vickie’s 83-year-old mother, who is healing from a broken foot. When they learned about the plane, they called Vickie’s mother who, with the help of friends and relatives, bundled the children into a car and raced to meet the plane in Jackson.

“I don’t want them down there, by themselves, sitting in a house for day after day with no power or maybe no water,” said Vickie, a 48-year-old stay-at-home mom who runs her own accounting firm.

“My daughter’s birthday is next week, and the best gift I can think to give is to bring her back here with us –- and make sure the whole family’s safe.”

-- P.J. Huffstutter

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