Amid a throng of rabid supporters, in a room that at times felt more like a sauna than a banquet hall, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum thanked voters in Alabama and Mississippi for key primary wins in those states.

"We did it again," Santorum said first, acknowledging those primary wins.

But it was here in Lafayette, at the Hilton on Pinhook Road, where Santorum thanked those voters and where he made his pitch to voters in Louisiana who will get ready for their own primaries on March 24. He did so by attacking President Barack Obama on his energy policy, criticizing the President on the oil moratorium and gas prices.

"I'm here in Lafayette, Louisiana, tonight," Santorum said. "This is the heart of the oil and gas industry of the Gulf coast. And this administration almost put this town under with the moratoriums."

"We wanted to be here in Lafayette to say to average folks who are struggling right now because of those energy prices, we will put this town and this region back to work so you can go back to work," Santorum said.

Hundreds of people gathered on the second floor of the Hilton to hear Santorum speak, but for many, it was a waiting game. The presidential hopeful was scheduled to address the crowd at 7:30 p.m., but it wasn't until nearly 9:30 p.m. that the candidate made his appearance.

Still, the crowd passed the time, joining in singing renditions of "God Bless America," with chants of "We want Rick!" and "U-S-A!" interspersed. In a testament to the religious fervor among Santorum's supporters, one person lead the crowd in prayer for Santorum.

The night wasn't without it's detractors, however. A pair of Ron Paul supporters greeted drivers at the driveway to the hotel with signs promoting their candidate.

"[Santorum] is really a fake conservative," said Matthew Dupuis, one of the two waving the Ron Paul signs. "His voting record when he was in Pennsylvania was very liberal. So he's really not conservative and wouldn't stand a chance against the Democrats in the general election."

Santorum has also come under intense criticism recently, especially for comments he made about higher education and of President John F. Kennedy's remarks regarding the separation of church and state.

Dupuis and his partner were clearly in the minority tonight, however. And those criticisms did not seem to affect the supporter in attendance. Paul Landreneau came to the Hilton to see American Presidential politics in action, but he didn't deny his admiration for Santorum.

"[I like] his conservative principles," Landreneau said. "Look at the record," he said, making reference to the Ron Paul supporters by the road. "They can't possibly say that if they examine the record."

And it was those conservative credentials that Santorum summoned in order to drum up even further support from the crowd, eliciting cheers of "Rick Santorum!" once again.

"The time is now for conservatives to pull together," Santorum said. "And the best chance to win this election is to nominate a conservative to go up against Barack Obama."