(KSLA) - David Begnaud, a CBS News correspondent based in New York City, who once worked as a reporter at KSLA, has made a career of telling other peoples' stories. Now he’s telling his own, sharing with the world his debilitating battle with Tourette syndrome while growing up in South Louisiana.
Begnaud was recently interviewed by the University of Louisiana Lafayette, his alma mater, on the subject. Previously, Begnaud rarely discussed his disorder, but now wants to share his story in hopes of creating a conversation about Tourette’s and ending the stigma associated with the syndrome.
“In talking about this and coming forward with this now, what I want to say to viewers is Tourette’s has not stopped me from doing one thing,” said Begnaud. “Let’s create a conversation that reduces the stigma that people who have Tourette’s feel, maybe we can find some tolerance and maybe some acceptance.”
The CBS News correspondent said he faced “brutal” bullying as a child due to the ticks manifested by his Tourette’s.
“It [the bullying] was relentless and my only way to cope was to with it was to act like it didn’t happen,” said Begnaud. “Listen, kids at that age can be tormenting, but I harbor no resentment towards my classmates, many of whom I still speak with today.”
Begnaud — who has covered major stories such as the Hurricane Maria and the aftermath in Puerto Rico and the devastating wildfires in California — said his daily struggle with Tourette’s challenged him to become the revered correspondent he is today.
“As debilitating as it was for me as a child, it really became the fuel for me as an adult - it was my Achilles’s heel,” said Begnaud. “I still deal with it today and I dealt with it when I was working at KSLA.”
Begnaud worked at KSLA from 2005 to 2007.