And, whaddya know? Turns out that the earthy Vaccarella -- a highly successful businessman in the fast-food industry -- is indeed a Republican pol, having run unsuccessfully under the GOP banner for a seat on the St. Bernard Parish commission back in 1999. We don't have a good link, but here (via Nexis) is part of his bio that ran in the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Oct. 15, 1999
ROCKEY VACCARELLA PERSONAL Republican 35.
Born in New Orleans. Grew up in Arabi and Chalmette. Lived 11 years in Meraux. Married, two children. Graduated from Chalmette High, 1982. Attended St. Bernard Community College.
Director of operations, Lundy Enterprises, as manager of 31 Pizza Hut restaurants and 450 employees. Former general restaurant manager of Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits on East Judge Perez Drive in Chalmette.
And in fact, Vaccarella seemed very confident that he would be meeting with Bush when he left home, to the point where he had a date scheduled and everything:
Dinner with the President is planned for the evening of August 22nd.