By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL/Designated Writers

Former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer passed away earlier this week at age 77 (Sneaky old … he always seemed to be 45 to me.) If you are looking for some great Buddy Roemer political insight from me, you’ve come to the wrong place. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I’m a political idiot.

And proud of it.

But it wasn’t unusual that Roemer would show up at the Shreveport Journal newsroom way back in the day for various reasons. And I know he was a big sports fan. This is probably urban legend, but I always heard that he had one of the first VCRs in North Louisiana and had the 1978 Yankee-Red Sox playoff game on tape. (Kids, ask your parents – or grandparents – what a VCR is/was.)

However, I do have one Buddy Roemer story. It was probably 1982 or 1983 and the Journal booked me on a Royale flight from Shreveport to New Orleans to cover a Saints game. As I remember it, the plane seated a couple of dozen passengers and it was full on that Sunday morning.

Roemer, who was a U.S. Representative at the time, sat across the aisle from me as we took off. About the time we reached cruising altitude, we all discovered that the flight was going to have a stop-over in Alexandria. That was news to the passengers who were expecting a direct flight.

Buddy took a quick poll of the passengers as to who was getting off the plane in Alexandria. Answer — no one.

So he instantly went into negotiator mode with the pilot. (Those of you who flew Royale remember that the pilots weren’t exactly a par 5 away from the passengers).

“If no one is getting off the plane and the plane is full, then there is no reason to stop,” Roemer told the pilot. “Let’s just keep going to New Orleans.”

The pilot gave some kind of flimsy answer, but Roemer dug in. “Think about it,” he said. “There is no reason to stop. Everybody on board is going to the same place.”

Faced with slowing down to land, sitting on the runway for no reason, then getting back in line to take off could take an hour. Roemer’s solution made perfect sense.

I’d love to tell you it’s that kind of persuasive genius that laid the foundation for a successful gubernatorial bid less than five years later. Alas, the pilot vetoed the congressman and we landed in Alexandria.

But I will tell you it was the shortest layover I’ve ever been a part of.

And all the way on the second leg of the flight, there was one hacked off U.S. congressman sitting across from me.