Gov. Tim Pawlenty won't be eating beignets and talking politics in New Orleans after all.

The governor cancelled his trip to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference next month, where he was to appear along with GOP stars Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Haley Barbour and Mike Huckabee.

His excuse for canceling the April 10 appearance? Welcoming Minnesota troops home from Iraq.

"SRLC is a great event and the Governor was looking forward to meeting a lot of conservatives activists there. But he can't be in two places at once. As Commander-in-Chief of the Minnesota National Guard, he will be welcoming home the troops from their mission in Iraq," said Alex Conant, the governor's political spokesman.

Pawlenty has made a concerted effort to appear at troop deployment and welcome home ceremonies throughout his term.

The governor will still have a busy political week in early April. On April 7, he'll be in Minnesota for a Sarah Palin-Michele Bachmann fundraiser and on April 9, he'll appear with former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney in Minnesota.