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Edwin Washington Edwards (born August 7, 1927) served as the Democratic governor of Louisiana for four terms (1972–1980, 1984–1988 and 1992–1996), twice as many terms as any other Louisiana governor has served. Edwards was also Louisiana's first Catholic governor in the twentieth century. A colorful, powerful and legendary figure in Louisianamarker politics, Edwards was long dogged by charges of corruption.

In 2001 he was sentenced to ten years in prison on racketeering charges. Edwards began serving his sentence in October 2002 in Fort Worth, Texasmarker, and was later transferred to an Oakdale, Louisianamarker, facility.

Two men whom Edwards defeated in Louisiana elections, David C. Treen and Bennett Johnston, Jr., and a third who was his protege, John Breaux, confirmed in July 2007 that they intended to approach then U.S. President George W. Bush about procuring a pardon or commutation for Edwards, who celebrated his 80th birthday in prison in August 2007. However, Bush denied a pardon for Edwards before he left office in January 2009.

Early life and career

Edwin Washington Edwards was born in rural Avoyelles Parishmarker, near Marksvillemarker. His father, Clarence Edwards, was a half-Cajun Presbyterian sharecropper, while his mother, Agnès (Brouillette) Edwards, was a French-speaking Cajun Catholic.

The young Edwards had originally planned on a career as a preacher. As a young man, he did some preaching for the Church of the Nazarene. He served briefly in the U.S. Navy Air Corps near the end of World War II. After his return, he graduated from Louisiana State Universitymarker law school at age 21 and began practicing law in Crowley, Louisianamarker, in 1949, moving there after his sister Audrey (who had moved there with her husband) told him there were few French-speaking attorneys in town.

Edwards' career was thus helped by his being bilingual and articulate in both English and Cajun French. He learned to cultivate the goodwill of the media, both working reporters and editorial page editors. One of his favorites was Adras LaBorde, longtime managing editor of the Alexandriamarker Daily Town Talk. LaBorde even influenced Edwards in regard to environmental policy.

Edwards entered politics through election to the Crowley City Council in 1954. He was a member of the Democratic Party which, in that era, had a monopoly on public offices in Louisiana. Edwards remained on the Crowley council until his election to the Louisiana state Senate in 1964; in that race he defeated 20-year incumbent Bill Cleveland in a major political upset.

After serving in the state Senate as a floor leader for governor John McKeithen, Edwards was elected to the United States House of Representatives, where he served from 1965 to 1972. He won the congressional seat in a special election called when the incumbent, T. A. Thompson of Ville Platte, was killed in an automobile accident. Edwards was easily reelected to three full terms in the House in 1966, 1968 and 1970.

In 1968, he defeated Republican Vance William Plauche (born 1924) of Lake Charles, son of former one-term Democratic Congressman Vance Gabriel Plauche (1941–1943) with more than 80 percent of the general election vote. While in Congress, Edwards served on the Public Works, Judiciary, and Internal Security committees. He also became known as one of the few Southern congressmen to support the extension of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Edwards married Elaine Schwartzenburg, whom he had met in high school in Marksville. The couple had four children: Anna, Victoria, Stephen and David.

1971–72 campaign for governor

In the election of 1971–1972, Edwards won the governorship after finishing first in a field of seventeen candidates in the Democratic primary, including the final race of former governor Jimmie Davis and Gillis Long, a relative of Huey's. His greatest support came from southern Louisiana, particularly among its large numbers of Cajun, Creole, and African-American voters. In the first primary, Edwards led with 276,397 (23.8 percent). Bennett Johnston, a state senator from Shreveportmarker, followed with 208,830 (17.8 percent). In third place was former Congressman Gillis William Long of Alexandria, with 164,276 (14 percent). Former Governor James Houston "Jimmie" Davis was fourth with 138,756 (11.8 percent). Far to the rear of the pack was Congressman Speedy O. Long of Jenamarker in rural La Salle Parishmarker with only 61,359 (5.2 percent).

Both Edwards and Johnston ran on reform-oriented platforms during the primary, but Edwards was far more adept at making political deals and building alliances for the runoff round of voting. Edwards defeated Johnston in the runoff primary, 584,262 (50.2 percent) to 579,774 (49.8 percent) which worked out to less than one vote per precinct. The victory showed that south Louisiana was eclipsing the north in both population and in the future political domination of the state.On election night, Edwards gave public credit to the black New Orleansmarker political organization SOUL for his extremely narrow victory, stating that the 12,000 vote lead SOUL had brought him in New Orleans had put him over the top. Such public recognition of black political power by a Democratic governor of Louisiana was unprecedented.

Edwards then faced Republican gubernatorial nominee David Treen, then of Metairiemarker in Jefferson Parish, in the February 1, 1972, general election. Though Treen ran a vigorous campaign, Louisiana's Democratic tradition favored Edwards from the start. Edwards polled 641,146 (57.2 percent) to Treen's 480,424 (42.8 percent). Edwards also overcame the south Louisiana "jinx" that had doomed former New Orleansmarker Mayor deLesseps Story "Chep" Morrison, Sr., in his three gubernatorial bids.

First two terms as governor, 1972–1980

Both in his liberal political rhetoric and in his flamboyant public persona, Edwards cast himself as a Louisiana populist in the tradition of Huey P. Long and Earl K. Long. He was inaugurated as governor on May 9. One of his first acts was to call for a constitutional convention to overhaul Louisiana's bulky charter. Many of the sections on state government were written by delegate Robert G. Pugh, a prominent Shreveport attorney, who became an advisor to Edwards and two other governors thereafter. Voters approved the new constitution by a three-to-two margin in 1974, and government reorganization resulted. For the first time Louisiana operated with a "cabinet style" executive department in lieu of the hundreds of boards and commissions that had existed for decades, each its own fiefdom.

During his first two terms in office, Edwards developed a reputation for being one of the most colorful and flamboyant politicians in the history of a state known for its unorthodox political figures. Charismatic, well-dressed, and quick with clever one-liners and retorts, Edwards maintained wide popularity.

Edwards also depended heavily on Senator Sixty Rayburn of Bogalusamarker, whose 44-year service earned him the sobriquet as "Dean of the Louisiana Senate. He also rewarded political friends, such as former legislative colleague Fred L. Schiele, whom he appointed in 1973 to succeed the embattled Noah W. Cross as sheriff of Concordia Parish in eastern Louisiana.

Policies and achievements

After enduring three grueling rounds of voting in the 1971–72 campaign, Edwards pushed a bill through the Legislature that limited state elections to two rounds by having Democratic, Republican, and independent candidates run together on the same ballot in an open primary. Ironically, though the jungle primary system was intended to benefit Edwards' own political career, many observers cite it as being a major factor in the rise of the state's Republican party and the creation of a genuinely competitive two-party system. For this, Edwards was christened "father of Louisiana's Republican Party."

In his first term as governor, Edwards initiated the creation of the first new constitution for Louisiana in fifty years. He intended to replace the Constitution of 1921, an unwieldy and outmoded document burdened with hundreds of amendments. A constitutional convention was held in 1973; the resulting document was put into effect in 1975. , the 1973 Constitution remains in effect. Edwards also undertook a major reorganization of the state government, abolishing over 80 state agencies and modeling the remaining structure after that of the federal government.

In his first year in office, Edwards appointed his wife Elaine S. Edwards, also a native of Avoyelles Parish, to complete the Senate term of the deceased Allen J. Ellender. Mrs. Edwards served from August–November 1972, and during that time, the small town of Crowley boasted the governor, a U.S. Senator, and a U.S. Representative (former Edwards aide John Breaux), who all lived within a few blocks of each other.

An outspoken supporter of civil rights, Edwards was the first Louisiana governor since Reconstruction to appoint blacks and women to high positions in his administration.

Edwards' tenure in the 1970s coincided with a huge boom in the states' oil and gas industry after the gas pricing crisis of 1973. Edwards was able to greatly expand the state's oil revenues by basing severance taxes on a percentage of the price of each barrel rather than the former flat rate. This oil money fueled a massive increase in state spending (an 163% increase between 1972 and 1980), and Edwards was able to consistently balance the state budget due to the boom in oil revenue. Much of this increased spending went toward health and human services program and increased funding for vocational-technical schools and higher education.

Edwards easily won reelection in 1975, with 750,107 votes (62.3 percent). In second place was Democratic State Senator Robert G. "Bob" Jones of Lake Charlesmarker, son of former Governor Sam Houston Jones, with 292,220 (24.3 percent). Secretary of State Wade O. Martin, Jr., ran third with 146,363 (12.2 percent). Thereafter, both Jones and Martin became Republicans.

Early scandals

Though arguably minor compared to the Edwards scandals of the 1980s and 1990s, the governor was embroiled in several ethics controversies during his first two terms in office. At the time, Edwards was remarkably candid about his questionable practices. When questioned about receiving illegal campaign contributions, he replied that “It was illegal for them to give, but not for me to receive.” He also insisted he saw no problem with investing in a proposed New Orleansmarker office building called "One Edwards Square" (it was never actually named that) while still governor, and demonstrated his gambling prowess to the press on one of his frequent gambling trips to Las Vegasmarker. Later, Edwards' commissioner of administration Charles Roemer father of future governor Buddy Roemer – was convicted of taking bribes and having connections with Mafia boss Carlos Marcello. Edwards managed to avoid direct implication in the Roemer case.

During the governor's first term, a disaffected former Edwards associate named Clyde Vidrine made several high-profile accusations of corruption, including the sale of state agency posts. The accusations were investigated by a grand jury, but Edwards managed to successfully attack Vidrine's credibility and the investigation stalled. Later, Vidrine published a tell-all book called Just Takin’ Orders, which included salacious details of Edwards' frequent gambling trips and extramarital escapades. Vidrine was later murdered in broad daylight on the courthouse steps in Shreveport.

In 1976 scandal known as Koreagate, it came to light that Edwards and his wife Elaine had received questionable gifts in 1971, while Edwards was still a U.S. Congressman. South Koreanmarker rice broker Tongsun Park was under investigation for trying to bribe American legislators on behalf of the South Korean government, and for making millions of dollars in commissions on American purchases of South Korean rice. Edwards admitted that Park gave Elaine an envelope containing $10,000 in cash, but insisted that the gift was given out of friendship and that there was nothing improper about it. In the course of the controversy, Edwards stated that he thought it was “super moralistic” for the U.S. government to prohibit American businessmen to accept gifts from foreign officials in the course of their business dealings.

First political comeback: Edwards vs. Treen, 1983

Barred by the state constitution from seeking a third term immediately after his second, Edwards temporarily left politics in 1979 but made it clear he would run again in 1983. He began raising money and touring the state years before the 1983 election, maintaining what supporters called "the government in waiting."

In 1979, Republican reformer David Treen was narrowly elected governor. Edwards had supported Treen's opponent, Democratic Public Service Commissioner Louis Lambert of Ascension Parish. In 1983, Edwards defeated Treen's re-election attempt. The election offered a clear contrast between the flamboyant charismatic Edwards and the low-key, policy-oriented Treen. Treen focussed on Edward's reputation for corruption and dishonesty, while Edwards sought to portray Treen as incompetent and unresponsive to the public. The two major candidates spent over $18 million dollars between them; the election became renowned as one of the most expensive campaigns ever conducted in a state Louisiana's size. John Maginnis' 1984 book, The Last Hayride, chronicles this colorful campaign.

Before election day, Edwards had joked with reporters: "The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy". Edwards zinged Treen many times, once describing Treen as "so slow it takes him an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes." During a gubernatorial debate in 1983, Treen asked Edwards, "How come you talk out of both sides of your mouth?" Edwards instantly responded, "So people like you with only half a brain can understand me." Although Edwards won the 1983 election in a 62 percent landslide, effectively ending Treen's political career, former Governor Treen has since spoken out against his former opponent's incarceration.

Then Shreveport Journal editor Stanley R. Tiner reported after the campaign of 1983 that Edwards disbelieves in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and does not personally expect to go to heaven. There was an uproar in conservative religious circles, but the comments did not stop Edwards from finishing his term or winning a fourth election eight years thereafter.

After his 1983 victory, Edwards took some six hundred supporters on an eight-day tour of Francemarker and Belgiummarker, including dinner at Versailles and gambling in Monte Carlomarker. Each paid $10,000. Edwards expected a 70 percent profit on the contributors' tickets to retire a whopping $4.2 million campaign debt. Campaign style bumper stickers were printed that were distributed to those who contributed to the retirement of this campaign debt that were seen on vehicles in Louisiana for years afterward that read, in hi blue and gold campaign colors, "I did Paris with the Gov."

Third term as governor, 1984–1988

The third Edwards administration went badly by all accounts. The oil money that fueled the success of Edwards's first two terms was in short supply in the third term. His oil severance tax restructuring came back to hurt him as plummeting oil prices led to massive shortages in the state treasury. In 1984, Edwards attempted to deal with the erosion of state revenue by approving $730 million worth of new personal taxes. The Legislature passed these taxes into law, but the taxes were highly unpopular and damaged his level of public support. Much of Edwards' support in the 1970s had been a result of his high levels of social spending during times of economic prosperity; with these economic conditions gone, his popularity waned.

The John Volz indictment and trials

In February 1985, soon after his third term began, Edwards was forced to stand trial on charges of mail fraud, obstruction of justice, and bribery, brought by U.S. Attorney John Volz. The charges were centered around an alleged scheme in which Edwards and his associates received almost two million dollars in exchange for granting preferential treatment to companies dealing with state hospitals. Edwards proclaimed his innocence and insisted that the charges were politically motivated by Volz and the Republican party. The first trial resulted in a mistrial in December 1985, while a second trial in 1986 resulted in an acquittal. Edwards later recited during a toast at a French Quartermarker bar, though his beverage was non alcoholic as he did not drink, a rhyming invitation for Volz to "kiss my ass". The trials were rather lengthy, and at one point during the first trial but before the mistrial the governor rode to the Hale Boggs U.S. Courthouse on a mule from his hotel. When asked by reporters why he did so, he replied something to the effect that it was symbolic of the speed and intellect of the federal judicial system, but also that he supported 'tradition.' His brother Marion Edwards, an attorney, often wearing a pinstrip suit with a top hat and cane, would also hold comedic press briefings at the end of each court session on the steps of the courthouse in New Orleans mocking the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney Volz and United States Judge Marcel Livaudais, who presided over the trials.

Even after successfully beating the Volz indictment, Edwin Edwards' popularity was in decline. Despite his acquittal, the trial brought many sordid details of Edwards' conduct under public scrutiny. It was revealed that during frequent gambling trips to Las Vegas, Edwards lost hundreds of thousands of dollars under aliases such as T. Wong and E. Lee, later paying these gambling debts using suitcases stuffed with cash of unknown origin.

After the trial, Edwards' support for the legalization of gambling as a solution to the state's severe revenue shortages contributed to a further decline in his popularity. He had made unpopular budget cuts to education and other social programs earlier in his term. Beginning in January 1986, he argued that legalizing casino gambling in up to 15 locations and creating a state lottery would be a way to restore the cut programs, but the state legislature rejected his gambling proposals. Entering a tough re-election campaign in 1987, Edwards seemed vulnerable. Going into the election, his disapproval ratings ranged from 52 to 71 percent.

Defeat: Edwards vs. Roemer, 1987

Several notable candidates lined up to face Edwards in the 1987 gubernatorial election. Perhaps his strongest early challenger was Republican Congressman Bob Livingston. Also in the race were Billy Tauzin, a then-Democratic Cajun congressman, Democratic Secretary of State Jim Brown, and a Democratic congressman from north Louisiana, Buddy Roemer, who climbed up from a series of very low early-campaign polls.

"Anyone But Edwards"

Edwin was the issue of the campaign. Because of his name recognition, his resilient supporters, and unmatched political skill, even a weakened Edwards could safely assume he would win a place in Louisiana's unique primary election system runoff. The question was whether his opponent in the runoff would be someone who could beat him.

There was a prevailing sense in the race that Edwards needed Livingston in the runoff. Livingston was a Republican in a state that had at that point elected only one Republican governor since Reconstruction. And Livingston was widely perceived as lacking in charisma and personality, which would work to Edwards's advantage. Any other opponent, a moderate Democrat without the ethical problems, would be dangerous. To that end, Edwards talked up Livingston. It didn't work. Perhaps the key moment in the 1987 race came at a forum between the candidates. As usual, the main topic of discussion was Edwin Edwards. His challengers were asked, in succession, if they would consider endorsing Edwards in the general election if they didn't make it to the runoff. The candidates hedged, particularly Secretary of State Brown. The last candidate to speak was Buddy Roemer: "No, we've got to slay the dragon. I would endorse anyone but Edwards." The next day, as political commentator John Maginnis put it, Jim Brown was explaining his statement while Buddy Roemer was ordering "Slay the Dragon" buttons. Boosted by his endorsement as the ‘good government candidate’ by nearly every newspaper in the state, Roemer stormed from last place in the polls and on election night, overtook Edwin Edwards and placed first in the primary election, with 33% of the vote compared with Edwards' 28%. This marked the first and last time Edwin Edwards ever finished other than first in an election.

In what seemed to be the end of Edwards' political career, the governor withdrew from the contest in his concession speech, automatically electing Buddy Roemer governor. In fact, he was cleverly setting a trap for Roemer. By withdrawing, Edwards denied Roemer the opportunity to build a governing coalition in the general election race, and denied him the decisive majority victory that he surely would have attained. In one stroke, Edwards made Buddy Roemer a minority governor. Also, Edwards virtually ceded control of the state to Roemer even before his inauguration. By doing so, he passed on the burden of the state's problems to the new governor, who was essentially under the gun even before assuming office. For four years, Roemer struggled to be a reform governor of Louisiana as so many had before him. And although virtually no one realized it at the time, Edwin Edwards quietly waited in the wings for his shot at redemption.

A second comeback: Edwards vs. Duke, 1991

As the 1991 governor's race drew near, many of Edwards' friends encouraged him to abandon his planned comeback, believing that he had no chance to win. After Edwards' loss in 1987, a journalist for the defunct Shreveport Journal wrote that the only way Edwin Edwards could ever be elected again was to run against Adolf Hitler. These words turned out to be, in a sense, prophetic. In the 1991 primary, Edwards discovered his runoff opponent to be David Duke, the highly controversial former Ku Klux Klan leader. Edwards received 34 percent of the vote while Duke received 32 percent. Governor Roemer placed third, 80,000 votes behind Duke.

The runoff between a former Klansman and a former governor who was widely considered corrupt but was also minority-friendly, gained national attention. Support for Edwards grew in between the primary and the runoff. Faced with the alternative of Duke, many who were otherwise lukewarm for Edwards found him looking ever better. Edwards found himself receiving endorsements from both Treen and Roemer; even Republican President Bush admitted that Edwards, the Democrat, was a better choice than Duke, a putative Republican. A very popular bumpersticker urging support for Edwards (although clearly not produced by his campaign) read "Vote For the Crook. It's Important." Another read "Vote for the Lizard, not the Wizard." Edwards said that this would be his final term as governor and that he cared about leaving a good legacy, which made many hope that the corruption of his previous administrations would not be repeated. Edwards won by a wide margin. Continuing his artful use of humor to deflate an opponent, and referring to his considerable reputation as a Lothario, Edwards said of Duke, "The only thing we have in common is that we both have been wizards beneath the sheets." On Election Day, Edwards defeated Duke in a landslide, 61% to 39%, a margin of nearly 400,000 votes.

Fourth term as governor, 1992–1996

In his last term, Edwards promoted casino gambling in Louisiana, which had been a major part of his platform in the 1991 campaign. In June 1992, his heavy lobbying led the state legislature to pass a bill calling for a single large land-based casino in New Orleans. He also appointed a board that, at his private direction, awarded 15 floating riverboat casinos that had been authorized by the Legislature and the Roemer administration. He appointed a political ally, Paul Fontenot, to head the State Police; he would oversee the licensing and investigation of casino operators. On another front he again demonstrated his broad commitment to civil rights by becoming the first Southern governor to issue an executive order protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons from discrimination in state governmental services, employment and contracts.

Despite the discovery that some licensees had links to organized crime or other unsavory ties, Edwards blocked the revocation of their licenses. But a political backlash against gambling-related corruption began. Though he had originally planned to run for re-election in 1995, he announced in June 1994, shortly after marrying his second wife Candy Picou, that he would be retiring from politics at the end of his term. Edwards was succeeded as governor by State Senator Mike Foster, who ran as an opponent of gambling interests. Edwards retired to a newly purchased home in Baton Rougemarker, intent on returning to a private law practice and living out his remaining days in contentment with his young wife (born 1964).

Indictment and conviction

After being fingered by Texas for-profit prison entrepreneur Patrick Graham, who allegedly gave him $845,000 in conjunction with a scheme to locate a private juvenile prison in Jena, Louisianamarker, Edwards was indicted in 1998 by the federal government with prosecution led by U.S. Attorney Eddie Jordan. The prosecution soon released transcripts of audio conversations, as well as excerpts of video surveillance that seemed to indicate dubious financial transactions. The Edwards investigation also tarnished the reputation of San Francisco 49ers owner Edward J. DeBartolo Jr., who admitted to paying Edwards $400,000 in exchange for Edwards's assistance in securing a casino license.

Edwards was found guilty on 17 of 26 counts, including racketeering, extortion, money laundering, mail fraud and wire fraud; his son Stephen was convicted on 18 counts. "I did not do anything wrong as a governor, even if you accept the verdict as it is, it doesn't indicate that," Edwards told the press after his conviction. On his way to prison he said, "I will be a model prisoner, as I have been a model citizen". From 2002 to 2004 Edwin Edwards was incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texasmarker.

Edwards' sometime co-consprirator, Cecil Brown, a Eunice cattleman, was convicted for his part in the payoffs in 2002.

In 2004, Edwards filed for divorce from his second wife Candy, saying that Mrs. Edwards had "suffered enough" during his incarceration. In June 2005, the former Mrs. Edwards was arrested for threatening a police officer at a traffic stop in Port Barre, screaming "don't you know who I am"?

In 2005, Edwards was moved to the Federal Correctional Institution in Oakdale, Louisianamarker, where he is serving his sentence as inmate #03128-095. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, he is scheduled to be released on July 6, 2011. Efforts have been underway since his imprisonment to obtain a presidential pardon or commutation for Edwards, whose 80th birthday was August 7, 2007. Among those supporting the pardon effort are David Treen and Shreveport automobile dealer Ed Powell. Former President George H. W. Bush also supported commuting Edwards' sentence to time served and wrote a letter to the pardon board of then-President George W. Bush. However, Bush denied a pardon for Edwards before leaving office in January 2009.

In 2009, Edwards was listed as an "honorary pallbearer" at the funeral of perennial political candidate L. D. Knox of Winnsboromarker, who in the 1979 gubernatorial contest, when Edwards was not on the ballot, legally changed his name to "None of the Above" Knox to dramatize his support for the "None of the Above" option in elections.

Personal life

Edwards is twice divorced. He has four children from his first marriage.

In 1949 Edwards married Elaine Schwartzenburg aka Elaine Edwards (born 1929). While Governor he appointed Elaine to the Senate to fill out the unfinished term of Allen Ellender, who died while in office. He said he trusted her experience. They had four children. In 1989, the couple divorced after 40 years of marriage.

In 1994 Edwards married Candy Picou (born 1964). In 1997 the couple entered the headlines when they attempted to have a child. Edwin had his vasectomy reversed and the couple froze sperm to attempt to have a baby. Their efforts ended with Edwin's legal trouble. Edwin suggested divorce to his wife after his indictment but she wouldn't hear of it. While in prison Edwin Edwards filed for divorce from Candy Edwards. The divorce was finalized in 2004 during Edward's prison tenure. Candy and Edwin Edwards are still close friends and she visits him often in prison. In 2006 Candy Edwards gave birth to a child named Harrison Arthur Picou Low. The father is Brian Low (born 1975). Low and Candy are not married and she is still single. Candy has said that she brought the child to the prison on one of her visits with her for Edwin to see him. She said that he is very supportive of her. Candy Edwards continues to use her married name and works as a real estate agent. When asked if she and Edwin would ever get back together after his release from prison she said that "anything could happen".

Edwin stated that Mrs. Edwards had suffered enough during his prison tenure, in his reasoning for ending the marriage. In 2005 Mrs. Edwards was arrested for a traffic violation involving speeding, driving under a suspended license, and resisting an officer.

Edwards' record of longevity

Few governors have served four four-year terms. Edwards hence joins the late George C. Wallace, Jr. of Alabamamarker, Jim Hunt of North Carolinamarker, Bill Janklow of South Dakotamarker, Terry Branstad of Iowamarker and Jim Rhodes of Ohiomarker as 16-year governors. Former Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller would also have been among the long-term incumbents too had he not resigned at the end of 1973, with a year left in his term as governor of New Yorkmarker; Tommy Thompson of Wisconsinmarker would have also served 16 years had he not resigned halfway into his fourth term to become George W. Bush's initial Secretary of Health and Human Services. James R. Thompson of Illinoismarker was elected to four consecutive terms, but the first of them was a 2-year term at the end of which Illinois switched to 4-year gubernatorial terms.

When the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame opened in Winnfieldmarker in 1993, Edwards was among the first class of inductees.


  2. La. Executive Order EWE 92-7
  3. Federal Bureau of Prisons
  4. Candy Edwards Arrested
Bridges, Tyler. Bad bet on the Bayou: The Rise of Gambling in Louisiana and the Fall of Governor Edwin Edwards. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2001.
  • Dawson, Joseph G. The Louisiana Governors: From Iberville to Edwards. Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1990.
  • Hathorn, Billy. "The Republican Party in Louisiana, 1920–1980," Master's thesis (1980), Northwestern State University at Natchitoches.
  • Maginnis, John. The Last Hayride. Baton Rouge: Gris Gris Press, 1984.
  • Maginnis, John. Cross to Bear. Baton Rouge: Darkhorse Press, 1992.
  • Reeves, Miriam G. The Governors of Louisiana. Gretna: Pelican Press, 1998.

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