Cameron Parish is Trump Town USA

Leigh Guidry
After the votes were tallied in Tuesday's general election, Cameron Parish was one of the reddest places in America.

HACKBERRY, La. — To the list of things Louisiana loves, add Donald J. Trump.

Long known for jazz, Cajun and Creole culture, and crawfish, Louisiana has an new distinction: It contains two of the three reddest voting blocs in the country.

In rural LaSalle Parish, 88.8 percent of voters chose Trump in the presidential election Tuesday. In coastal Cameron Parish, it was 88.2 percent. Only Leslie County, Kentucky, with 89.4 percent, was higher among counties and parishes with more than 500 people, according to USA Today research.

Residents in Cameron Parish, a hub of commercial fishing, agriculture, cattle, trapping, alligator and oil and gas, are proud to hear it.

Walk into Brown's Food Center in the heart of Hackberry, a town of more than 1,200 people, on Wednesday and you would find many employees happy their candidate won the presidency and even happier that Cameron Parish played a role in the victory.

"It's awesome," said Dawn Abshire, a Hackberry resident of 30 years. She works in the boat department of Brown's, which serves the town as much more than a grocery store, deli and gas station.

ELECTION 2016: Full coverage

For Abshire and several Trump supporters in the parish, their decision to vote Trump had a lot to do with where they fell on issues of job growth, immigration, gun control and abortion.

She is "totally against abortion" and stricter gun control laws, and she wants to see the oil and gas industry thrive. These issues ruled out Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton as an option for Abshire, who argues that Clinton never really was an option for her.

"I never really cared for her," Abshire said.

On the issue of guns, Abshire puts it plainly.

"I want my guns ..." she said. "Everybody has a right to defend themselves. ... (and) here it's a way to fill up your freezer."

James Swire, a Trump supporter, works at  Brown's Food Center in Cameron Parish, Louisiana.

Her coworker James Swire, 59, said Trump's promises to bring more jobs to the U.S. resonated with him as his parish continues to deal with lasting effects of two major hurricanes in 10 years on the commercial fishing industry as well as the more recent downturn of the oil and gas industry.

Both industries are paramount to the area, evident from the shrimp boats, cranes and work sites visible from Highway 27 and the people Swire sees at the deli every day.

"I'm thinking he (Trump) would help Hackberry a lot with the commercial fishing and oil and gas," Swire said.

Abshire echoed that in her reasoning for supporting Trump, adding that improving the fate of Cameron Parish's primary industries would affect everyone in the area, not just the direct workers.

"It's the livelihood around here," she said. "It's a small town. I work in the boat department. (If they don't have work) then my job's in jeopardy."

What resonated with Swire was that Trump's message was that "he's for the American people and he will work for us."

These issues were repeated by other Trump supporters in the area, like Geffery Woolley, an engineer with Chicago Bridge and Iron (CB&I). He's not from Southwest Louisiana but is living there as he works on a compressed natural gas project near Hackberry.

He voted for Trump as a local resident Tuesday. His primary reason? He saw Trump as someone who could and would help the oil and gas industry.

"It's no secret the woman attempting to run for the White House was not oil- and gas-friendly," Woolley said, referring to Clinton.

But Trump's persona as an outsider with no previous experience as a politician also appealed to him.

"I've been an engineer for 26 years with the oil and gas business, and I know we were tired of professional politicians," Woolley said. "(In Trump) we see somebody pushing fresh ideas forward."

"The biggest selling point (of Trump) is he's not a polished liar," Woolley continued. "Yeah, he's been in the public eye and promoting his own agenda, but that was for him. Politicians promote their own agendas for other interests (not the people)."

Woolley did not think Clinton would have been for the people, especially people like himself.

"I can only speak for people in my industry," he said. "Most of us are middle-class workers, and we want to stay that way. We felt with her coming into office it would fully put them behind."

Geffery Wooley, an engineer with CBIN and Cameron Parish resident, discusses why he supported Donald Trump.

Woolley shared his passion for change this election by encouraging his coworkers to vote Tuesday.

"I had a meeting at work to remind people to vote," he said. "I said, 'I don't care who you vote for. Just go vote.' But I did remind them what industry they're in."

Woolley also agreed with Trump's position on immigration. He said the Republican has "some good ideas" for tackling that issue.

"We need to certainly do something about our border security," he said. "The U.S. should not be absorbing the burden of illegal immigrants. It's a huge, trillion-dollar burden on our country. ... We have to stop the flow of illegal immigrants and bring industry back into the U.S.

"People want to go to work," he continued. "I don't blame them for that. But be legal, documented and pay taxes."

What now?

With the election over and their candidate named the president-elect, what is it that Trump supporters want to see from him?

"I think what I want him to do is bring our military people back home ... and try to keep ISIS out of our way," Swire said.

Swire also wants to see a better health care system, one that truly covers everyone and comes at lower costs, he said.

Woolley wants Trump to remain focused on the job front.

"We need to stop sending jobs overseas," he said.

He pointed to "billions of dollars" in oil and gas projects that have been put on hold as an opportunity for Trump to effect change.

"I certainly see some of these projects that were put on hold to be put back on the table... which would mean employment," Wooley said.

He added, "If it were me, I'd put a law in place to raise import tariffs."

Abshire wants to see him deliver on his promises.

"He needs to keep with what he said and do what he said he would do," she said.

Woolley fully expects Trump will do just that.

"He has good, solid ideas, he said. "I have a strong belief he will (follow through on them)."

While Cameron Parish residents were excited to hear they were among the "reddest" in the country, they weren't shocked a South Louisiana parish could be called "Trump country."

"I'd hear a lot of people (in the store) talk about Donald Trump and how they were going to vote for him," Swire said.

When asked if she was surprised, Abshire answered simply, "No, I had faith."