Parish President Albert Laque didn't miss a beat when St. Charles Hospital told him that he would have to have surgery to remove a benign tumor growing in his abdominal cavity.
"When a man gets to be 39 years old, things like this happen," joked Laque, who is really 72. "I've always gone for my check-ups," he told the St. Charles Herald Guide in an exclusive interview. So when Doctors Mann and Brogul told him they had to operate to remove the tumor, he told them “to go for it.”
The operation, performed this past spring, went smoothly. There was only one caveat. They had to leave the wound open to drain. That's when the doctors inserted a device into his abdominal cavity called the ‘wound vac’ -- a bag attached to the Parish President 24/7.
"It was aggravating because that's when I had to go to the legislature and talk there several times and had to go to Washington, and I always had my ‘girlfriend' with me," Laque said, referring to the machine he was forced to take everywhere.
Born and raised in Boutte, the consummate politician has never been known to stay at home, and having a bag attached to his stomach wasn't going to change things. So throughout the summer, he continued with his busy schedule, including appearances at council meetings and the legislature in Baton Rouge, all the while carting ‘his girlfriend’ around.
Predictably, the rumors began flying about Laque's health.Talk that Laque wasn't doing well, and had cancer or heart problems raced through the parish -- none of them true.
After several months, he was finally healed enough to get rid of the bag, and he's feeling as fit as ever "Those doctors were the best," the good-natured 72-year-old said.
He admitted that the ‘wound-vac’ was another matter, "That thing drove me insane."
Laque looks forward to finishing out his third term in good health. "You'ld have to be crazy to like this but unfortunately I do." he said of the top position he holds.
|Photo by Heather R. Breaux|
|Laque recently attended the ground breaking ceremony for St. Charles Parish Hospital’s new addition.|