Odon Bacqué

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Odon Lessley "Don" Bacqué, Jr.​

Louisiana State Representative
for Lafayette Parish (District 43)​
In office
1988​ – 1992​
Preceded by Michael F. Thompson

Born November 30, 1944​
Lafayette, Louisiana, USA ​
Political party No Party
Spouse(s) Carola Jean Lipsey "Cookie" Bacqué​

Two daughters:
Leslie Christine Bacqué, formerly Leslie B. Smith
​ Emily Katherine Bacqué​

Residence Lafayette, Louisiana ​
Alma mater Cathedral Carmel High School (Lafayette)​

Louisiana State University

Occupation Insurance agent ​
Religion Roman Catholic

Military Service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1968-1970
Rank First lieutenant in the
Special Forces
Battles/wars Vietnam War

Odon Lessley Bacqué, Jr., also known as Don Bacqué (born November 30, 1944), is a No Party former state representative for District 43 in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, who served a single term in office from 1988 to 1992.[1]

In 2014, he released a book of comedy about the foibles of the Vietnam War in which he served from 1968 to 1970.​ ​

Background

​ Bacqué (pronounced BAH KEY) is one of four sons of Odon L. Bacqué, Sr. (1917-1993), and the former Lydia Aponte (1920-2007), a native of Puerto Rico who attended college in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Bacqué's brothers are Frank R. Bacqué, M.D., William J. Bacqué, and Jean Louis Bacqué (1949-1954). His Roman Catholic parents married in 1943 and moved to Lafayette, Louisiana, where he was born the next year. His mother, who held a degree in Chemistry, was a lab instructor from 1965 to 1986 at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, then known as the University of Southwestern Louisiana. Bacque's parents and brother are interred at Lafayette Memorial Park.[2]

From 1959 to 1961, Bacqué, attended Charlotte Catholic High School in Charlotte, North Carolina. He returned to Lafayette for his senior year to Cathedral Carmel High School, from which he graduated in 1962.[3] In 1966, he obtained a bachelor's degree in History from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and planned to enter law school but instead faced conscription by the United States Army. He entered officer candidate school and served in the former South Vietnam with the 5th Special Forces, colloquially known as the Green Beréts (pronounced BEH RAY). After his two years in the military, Bacqué returned to Lafayette, launched a life insurance business, was later named to the Million Dollar Round Table, and became involved in civic affairs.[4]

In 1982, as the president (now called chairman) of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, Bacqué supported the consolidation of the Lafayette city and parish governments.[5] In 1983, Bacqué received the Distinguished Service Award given annually by the Lafayette Junior Chamber International. He organized a Vietnam Veterans group in Lafayette. He has served as the state co-chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee that built a monument in New Orleans to honor the 881 veterans from Louisiana who did not return from the war.[4]

Bacqué is a past president of the Lafayette Estate and Business Planning Council. He is a past state president of the Louisiana Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, an organization of which he has been a member since 1970, when he entered the insurance business.[4]

Civic and political highlights

In 1986, Bacqué was the founding chairman of Leadership Lafayette, a program sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce to train community leaders.[5]

On October 24, 1987, Bacqué unseated the pro-life Republican state Representative Michael F. Thompson in the nonpartisan blanket primary. Thompson led a three-candidate field with 7,345 votes (45 percent) to Bacqué's 6,473 (40 percent). The remaining but critical 2,377 votes were polled by the Democrat, Vance Lanier.[6] In the November 21 general election, the Lanier backers swung strongly to Bacqué, who prevailed, 6,811 (57 percent) to Thompson's 5,106 ballots (43 percent). Thompson's defeat was also attributed to the failure of some 2,200 Republican voters who participated in the primary to return to the polls for the second round of balloting. The successful Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, Paul Hardy, won in Lafayette Parish over the Democratic incumbent Robert Freeman at the same time that Thompson was going down to defeat.[7]

As a freshman legislator, Bacqué stood alone in 1991, when he attempted to deny seating to newly elected representative David Duke, a former figure in the Ku Klux Klan, on the grounds that Duke was not a legal resident of his district. When Duke's election opponent, fellow Republican John Treen, failed in a court challenge, Duke was seated but without Bacqué's acquiescence.[8]

In 2007, Lafayette City and Parish President Joey Durel named Bacqué to fill the unexpired term of Don Higginbotham on the Lafayette Regional Airport Commission. Higginbotham, a Democrat-turned-Republican, had earlier served with Bacqué in the state House.[5]

In 2010, Bacqué served for five months on the Lafayette Charter Commission.[9]

In 2014, Bacqué was a political donor to Democratic U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, who failed in her bid for a fourth term in the runoff election held on December 6. He has also contributed to his own Lafayette-area then-congressman, Republican Charles Boustany, Jr., of Louisiana's 3rd congressional district.[10]

Non-fiction writer

​ In 2014, Bacqué published the e-book entitled A Walk in the Park: A Vietnam Comedy, which examines comic situations that he encountered in the military but without the cynicism of such well-known novels as Catch 22 or M*A*S*H: A Novel About Three Army Doctors. Bacqué told the reporter Bill Decker of The Lafayette Daily Advertiser that his "experience wasn't heroic. It was comedic. ... Those things that we did to occupy that time is what most young people do when they’re in a crazy situation."[11]

Bacqué had mistakenly believed that his poor eyesight would spare him from combat. Forty years after his military service ended, Bacqué found that his memories were fading until, when he was moving to another house, he found some wartime letters that he had written to his wife, the former Carola Lipsey (born November 12, 1946), known as "Cookie" Bacqué, by whom he has two daughters, Leslie and Emily. The letters quickly rekindled his Vietnam experience and enabled him to write his book.[11]

References

​​​​​​​​
  1. Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2024. Louisiana House of Representatives. Retrieved on July 8, 2020.
  2. Lydia Aponte Bacqué. findagrave.com. Retrieved on July 8, 2020.
  3. Odon Bacque (Class of 1962). classmates.com. Retrieved on July 8, 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Odon L. Bacqué, Jr., CLU. bolisolutionsgroup.com. Retrieved on April 21, 2014; material no longer on-line.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Turk File 07.25.2007. acadianabusiness.com. Retrieved on April 21, 2014; material no longer on-line.
  6. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 24, 1987.
  7. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 21, 1987.
  8. Ron Gomez, "David Duke? He's Just Another Freshman," My Name Is Ron And I'm a Recovering Legislator: Memoirs of a Louisiana State Representative (Lafayette, Louisiana:: Zemog Publishing, 2000), pp. 157-164; ISBN 0-9700156-0-7.
  9. "Odon Bacqué, Jr., mikestaggforlafayette.com, accessed April 21, 2014; material no longer on-line.
  10. Odon Bacqué Political Campaign Contributions: 2014 Election Cycle. campaignmoney.com. Retrieved on July 8, 2020.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Bill Decker, "Acadiana People: Bacqué's book tells war stories from behind the lines, the Lafayette Daily Advertiser=|date=April 12, 2014; material no longer on-line.