Walter Pierce

Durel hospitalized after collapsing

by Walter Pierce

Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel says he expects to be back in the office, sleeves rolled up, by early afternoon Tuesday after fainting Monday night during a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Mandeville, at businessman Mike Moreno's River Ranch home. A source at the private gathering tells the INDsider that Durel was pale, but was alert and waved farewell as he was brought to Lafayette General Medical Center by ambulance. “I was trying to find a dramatic way to get out budget hearings, and I thought this might work,” Durel joked Tuesday morning via telephone from his hospital room, an EKG beeping rhythmically in the background.

The 56-year-old insists he’s OK (thankfully, ER doc Kip Schumacher was on hand at the fundraiser to lend a hand) and was kept in the hospital overnight as a precaution. “Really, I’m fine. Everything they’ve observed and tested has come back perfect — blood pressure and everything.” Durel says doctors will perform stress tests Tuesday morning — tests he says he’ll pass with “flying colors.”

Fortunately, he was in a crowded room when he passed out; bystanders prevented him from falling to the floor. “I found myself standing in the middle of the room, not leaning on anything and, two speeches getting a little long, I guess all things kind of came together at one time,” Durel says. “I turned — I thought I was turning anyway — to get out of the middle of the room to maybe sit down somewhere because I felt myself feeling kind of strange, and what I’m told is I never made a turn; I just started going down.”