Edwin Edwards, Legend of Louisiana Politics, Is Dead

Former governor was 93
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 12, 2021 10:00 AM CDT
Edwin Edwards, Legend of Louisiana Politics, Is Dead
In this 1985 photo, Tom Benson, left, and then-Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards smile as they announce that Benson just signed a deal purchasing the New Orleans Saints for $64 million at a press conference in New Orleans.   (AP Photo/Bill Haber, File)

Edwin Edwards, the high-living four-term governor whose three-decade dominance of Louisiana politics was all but overshadowed by scandal and an eight-year federal prison stretch, died Monday at age 93, per the AP. Edwards died of respiratory problems with family and friends by his bedside, family spokesman Leo Honeycutt said. He had suffered bouts of ill health in recent years and entered hospice care this month at his home in Gonzales. "I have lived a good life, had better breaks than most, had some bad breaks, too, but that's all part of it," Edwards said in some of his last words, according to Honeycutt's statement. "I tried to help as many people as I could and I hope I did that, and I hope, if I did, that they will help others, too. I love Louisiana and I always will."

Silver-haired, handsome, and gifted with a dry sense of humor and easy charm, Edwards dominated Louisiana politics in the late 20th century much as Huey P. Long had dominated its earlier years. They shared a populist appeal to the state's downtrodden, and political fortunes that flowed in part from taxes on oil. But Edwards, a consummate deal-maker, had a cooler demeanor. The federal case that led to his May 2000 conviction involved state riverboat casino licenses awarded during and after his fourth and final term in the 1990s. Edwards maintained the case was built on misinterpreted, secretly taped conversations and the lies of former cronies who made deals to avoid jail. Edwards enjoyed renewed popularity after emerging from prison in 2011 at age 83, though an attempt to return to politics ended in a runoff-election loss for a congressional seat.

(More Edwin Edwards stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.