Edwin Washington Edwards, longest-serving governor in Louisiana history, died peacefully this morning at his home in Gonzales. He was surrounded by family and friends.
On July 4, Edwards complained of pains in his right lung and was taken by ambulance to Our Lady of the Lake St. Elizabeth Hospital. Physicians took X-rays and a CAT scan but found nothing out of the ordinary. On the following day, the former governor placed himself in hospice care.
Edwards had prosperous, albeit controversial, political career in which he served twice as many terms as governor as any other Louisiana chief executive.
- 1954 – Elected to Crowley City Council
- 1964 – Elected to Louisiana State Senate
- 1965 – Elected to US House of Representatives
- 1966 – Reelected to US House of Representatives
- 1968 – Reelected to US House of Representatives
- 1970 – Reelected to US House of Representatives
- 1972 – 1980 – Served two terms as Louisiana Governor
- 1984-1988 – Served third term as Louisiana Governor
- 1992-1996 – Served fourth term as Louisiana Governor
- 1998 – Indicted and prosecuted for his part in a scheme to locate a juvenile prison in Jena, Louisiana, and in a scheme involving a riverboat casino license.
- 2002 – Convicted on charges including racketeering, extortion, money laundering, mail fraud and wire fraud.
- 2011 – Edwards released from prison.
Edwards was on of Louisiana’s most popular governors. He was known for being charming, quick-witted, and for his delivery of clever one-liners.
Edwards was married three times, most recently to Trina Grimes with whom he starred in the A&E reality show The Governor’s Wife. Edwards had four children with his first wife, and, at 85-years-old, had a child with his third wife.
Current Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued the following statement:
“Few people have made such an indelible mark on our state as Governor Edwin Edwards. At just 17, he joined the Navy during World War II, beginning a lifetime of service to his state and country. He represented Louisiana’s 7th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives and served as the state’s only four-term governor, leading Louisiana through pivotal years of growth including launching efforts to create the state’s current constitution. Gov. Edwards was a fervent supporter of civil rights and ensured that his administration was as diverse as Louisiana, a commitment I have also made as governor. Edwin was a larger than life figure known for his wit and charm, but he will be equally remembered for being a compassionate leader who cared for the plight of all Louisianans. Our state has lost a giant, and we will miss him dearly. Donna and I send our deepest condolences to his wife, Trina, family and all who were blessed to call him a friend and ask everyone to join us in praying for God to comfort them during this difficult time.”
Flags will be flown at half-staff through the day of his interment.
The former governor’s outlook can be wrapped up in a quote he gave in an interview in 1983. Edwards said, “In life, politics and hunting, I play by the rules, but I take all the advantages the rules allow.”
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