Remembering Punk: A longtime servant of the people

A longtime public servant of St. Charles Parish, Albert “Punk” Laque Sr. will be remembered as a man passionately dedicated to helping others.

“He was a great dad and I’m going to miss him very much,” said Laque’s son, Albert “Bert” Laque Jr. “Everyone loved Mr. Punk.”

Laque, 84, a native and lifelong resident of Boutte, died Saturday surrounded by family. His wife, Dorothy “Dot” Clement Laque preceded him in death. He was a 1952 graduate of Hahnville High School, and served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict. Punk worked at Shell Chemical in Norco for 11 years.

Visitation will be 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday (Nov. 1) at the Jerusalem Shriners, 1940 Ormond Blvd., Destrehan. Visitation will continue at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Paradis on Friday (Nov. 2) from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday with burial to follow in St. Charles Borromeo Cemetery, (St. Charles Community), near Thibodaux, La.

Laque’s children say the burial is on the two-year anniversary day of their mother’s passing.

Marking more than 50 years collectively in parish politics, Laque’s political career began with winning a seat on the Police Jury in 1964.

Four years later, he left Shell to become the first parish administrator, a position he held until 1976. Laque went on to become commander of Administrative Services with the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office in 1984, a position he held four years.

By November of 1987, he was elected parish president. He served from 1988 to 1992 and  again from 2000 to 2008.

Parish President Larry Cochran recognized Laque as a longtime public servant.

“We are grateful for his many years of service, leadership and everything he accomplished for St. Charles Parish,” Cochran said. “Mr. Laque will be missed by many.”

For his children, it was certainly an apt statement.

“My dad was a great man,” said his daughter, Terry Laque, weeping over his loss. “He would give the shirt off his back to help anyone in need. He did whatever he could in his power to help them. That was just the type of man he was. If you were hungry, he was going to feed you. If you needed clothes on your back, he did that, too. I’m going to be lost without him. He was my life.”

Burt Laque recounted their father working in victim assistance with the District Attorney’s office for nearly five years.

District Attorney Joel Chaisson said, “Albert Laque was a good man and public servant who always went out of his way to help people in need. His spirit and generosity and love for St. Charles Parish and its people will be sorely missed.”

Burt said they have learned so much about what their father meant to so many people.

“While he was still living, even in these past couple of days, there were so many lives he touched that we weren’t aware of,” Burt said. “It was amazing the stories you hear from people of how he helped them. One person said he had a brother dying of cancer and our father went to visit the guy on election day. This sick person was in the hospital dying of cancer. It touched that man so much. That was just the kind of person he was.”

His son added that Laque didn’t think he was doing anything remarkable.

“It was his nature to help people and the position he was in he could help people,” he said.

Burt said he had an open door policy willing to see anyone and help them if he could.

Their brother, Louis “Jeff” Laque II, also remembered their father as the man who saw politics as the way to touch people. Jeff recalled commenting to him on how his political position was a thankless job, and said his father replied, “Son, I’d do the job for free.”

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