WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump tapped a pair of Louisianans to his State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol Tuesday night, highlighting the hurricane rescue efforts of a "Cajun Navy" volunteer and a New Orleans-based Coast Guard flight technician.
But a number of other Louisiana residents will be on hand as guests of the state's six U.S. congressmen and two senators when Trump gives his high-profile speech to a special joint-session of Congress.
All but one of the offices provided The Advocate with the names of their special guests to the speech.
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, invited his wife, Laura, a fellow physician who leads the Baton Rouge-based Louisiana Key Academy charter school for students with dyslexia.
Sen. John Kennedy, R-Madisonville, extended his invitation to Calvin Franklin, a custodian who cleans Kennedy's offices in the Russell Senate Office Building. Franklin works at the U.S. Capitol through DisabilityOne, a program that works with the federal government to provide employment to those with significant disabilities.
Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-Alto, is bringing businessman Paul Dickson, president of the Shreveport-based pharmaceutical distributor Morris and Dickson Co.
Rep. Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge, invited Randy Noel, the founder of LaPlace custom homebuilder Reve, Inc., and the current president of the Louisiana Association of Homebuilders and chairman of the National Association of Homebuilders.
Rep. Clay Higgins, R-Port Barre, is bringing 14-year-old Bella Reed of Lafayette, a teenager who "maintains an active lifestyle and cheers for both her school and a competitive cheer squad" despite being born with cystic fibrosis, according to Higgins' office. Higgins said he plans to introduce legislation backing research into cystic fibrosis.
Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Bossier, invited Brian Steorts, a combat veteran who was born on Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier Parish. Steorts founded Flags of Valor, a company that hires veterans to make and sell flag-themed merchandise.
Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, didn't respond to inquiries from The Advocate sent to his office.
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, will be joined at the State of the Union by his wife, Jennifer. A Scalise spokesman said the House majority whip gave additional tickets to other congressional offices.
Note: an earlier version of this post misspelled Brian Steorts' last name. It has been updated to reflect the correct spelling.