Laque pledges new spirit of cooperation

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 12, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / January 12, 2000

HAHNVILLE – St. Charles Parish President Albert Laque pledged a newspirit of cooperation during his inaugural address Monday and pledged that where he disagrees with someone, it will be “based on philosophy, not on personality.”Laque, his voice breaking with emotion, also dedicated his new administration to his brother, the late Jeff Laque Jr., who died Nov. 29,and called him “my mentor and my best friend.”He added, “If I’ve learned anything, this job calls for ‘we’ not ‘I’,” and continued, “I’m glad to be back.”Laque said his administration will be one of “inclusion and not exclusion,” and numbered among his priorities the hurricane protection levee projects, drainage and planning and zoning practices.

“I’m ready to go to work,” he concluded.

The day began with a 10 a.m. mass at Our Lady of the Most Holy RosaryCatholic Church in Hahnville, where the Rev. Bernard C. Francis offeredsage political advice: “Ten percent of the people will love you, no matter what you do. And evenif you stand on your head, 10 percent of them will hate you, no matter what. And 80 percent don’t give a damn, because they have problems oftheir own.”Francis also indicated three prerequisites for public officials – knowledge, moral integrity and willingness to accept the office.

Unfortunately, as he pointed out, “So often, many only have the third and, worse yet, so many voters discount the first two.”From there, the incoming parish officials adjourned to the courthouse lawn, and on a platform on which Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Edward S. Dufresne Jr. swore in Laque, the judge recalled their ownpolitical origins when Laque became a police juror and Dufresne was elected clerk of court. Dufresne added that Laque “brings a wealth ofexperience to lead the parish into the new millennium.”This was followed by 29th Judicial Court Judge Emile St. Pierre, whoissued the oath of office to the parish council members.

Keynote speaker for the inaugural ceremonies was U.S. District Judge MaryVial Lemmon, who observed, “St. Charles Parish is a very special place,but keep in mind that greatness exists only as long as we continue to strive for excellence.”She also urged the new officials to balance their public and private lives and asked what does it profit to have proper drainage when your children or spouse are denied to you.

Her husband, Louisiana Supreme Court Associate Justice Harry T. Lemmon,served as master of ceremonies.

Stephanie Stipe performed the national anthem, and the Destrehan High ROTC Color Guard led the Pledge of Allegiance.

The invocation was delivered by the Rev. Isaiah Franklin Jr. of Mt. ZionBaptist Church in St. Rose. The prayer for public officials was delivered bythe Rev. John Marse of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church. Thepresidential prayer was delivered by the Rev. D.B. Mollaire of Mt. ZionBaptist Church in Ama. The benediction was delivered by the Rev. DavidRoth of Des Allemands Mennonite Church.

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