ST. TAMMANY PARISH -- An offering of prayer for Congressman Steve Scalise and the others injured in Wednesday's shooting attack in Virginia was the first order of business at the St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
Among those in the audience were constituents, supporters, longtime political colleagues and friends.
"I saw him on TV, laying on a stretcher, put him in a helicopter, it's such a sobering thought," said State Sen. Jack Donahue, R-Mandeville, "People serving their country and getting shot while they do that. It kind of defies words and descriptions."
"It really took us aback, just because it was him, number one, but number two, in general, the violent act that was being committed by this person against, obviously, congressional leaders," said Larry Frieman, Chairman of the St. Tammany Republican Party Executive Committee.
On the other side of the parish, leaders couldn't celebrate the monumental W-14 and W-15 canal cleaning project in Slidell without talking about Scalise, who worked hard to help make it happen.
"When he comes home and he's in this area, he always gives me a call to see what's going on," said Slidell Mayor Freddy Drennan, "Anything he can do to help and he's just been a great great guy to work with."
"It broke my heart," said St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister, "Steve grew up on my street in Metairie. I've known him since he was 5-years-old. But not only as a person, I know his family, I knew his mother, I know his father."
And tonight, despite differences, St. Tammany is coming together as Americans to support one of their own.