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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Edwin Edwards, Flamboyant Louisiana Governor, Is Lifeless at 93

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Edwin W. Edwards, the one four-term governor in Louisiana’s historical past, a swashbuckling rogue who charmed voters along with his escapades and survived a rating of grand jury investigations and two corruption trials earlier than going to jail in 2002 for racketeering, died on Monday at his house in Gonzales, La. He was 93.

His biographer, Leo Honeycutt, stated the trigger was respiratory failure.

In January 2011, Mr. Edwards was launched from a federal jail in Oakdale, La., after serving greater than eight years of a 10-year sentence for bribery and extortion by rigging Louisiana’s riverboat on line casino licensing course of throughout his final time period in workplace.

Six months later he married. And within the fall, he rode in an open convertible by means of cheering crowds waving Edwards-for-governor indicators at an election-day barbecue. “As you recognize, they despatched me to jail for all times,” he instructed them. “However I got here again with a spouse.”

Earlier than Mr. Edwards, nobody had ever been elected to greater than two phrases as governor of Louisiana. Certainly, the state structure prohibits greater than two consecutive phrases. However from 1972 to 1996, with a few four-year furloughs to stoke up his unbelievable comebacks, Mr. Edwards was the undisputed king of Baton Rouge, a Scripture-quoting, nonsmoking teetotaler who as soon as thought-about life as a preacher.

In a state the place it has all the time been good politics to wink at a bit of wickedness, Mr. Edwards, the silver-haired, bilingual son of French Creole sharecroppers and a relentless electoral and legislative infighter, was maybe probably the most dominant political drive since Huey Lengthy, the unconventional populist often known as the Kingfish, who was assassinated on the State Capitol in 1935.

Courting votes in a bayou drawl with Cajun-inflected pledges to “laissez les bons temps rouler” (“let the great occasions roll”), Mr. Edwards — who averted the prototypical political sins of self righteousness and talked the way in which plain of us did over gumbo and crawfish pie — rose from an area council to the State Senate to a seat in Congress and the governor’s mansion in 17 years.

An entire obituary will probably be revealed shortly.

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