Former Lexington mayor Foster Pettit, who has been battling a life-threatening bacterial infection in Louisiana, is improving but has a long recovery ahead.
"He has made incremental progress just about every day," his son Gregory Pettit said.
On Monday morning, Foster Pettit, 84, opened his eyes and responded to commands for the first time since he was stricken down by the illness over a week ago. He was in a medically induced coma until several days ago, his son said.
Pettit remains on a ventilator and feeding tube in the intensive care unit at North Oaks Medical Center in Hammond, La.
Pettit, who served as mayor from 1972 to 1978, was fishing with friends and family on a fanboat in the Louisiana Delta on Oct. 16 when the boat capsized in shallow water. Pettit got a cut on his leg and was stranded along with the rest of the boat's passengers for several hours before being rescued by the Coast Guard. Soon after, he was diagnosed with a vibrio infection, a bacterium common to coastal waters.