Home News-Free Former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards dies at age 93

Former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards dies at age 93

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Former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Washington Edwards

Edwards died peacefully Monday morning at his home in Gonzales with family and friends by his bedside.

In Monday’s statement, Anna Edwards, the ex-governor’s oldest child, said, “I am heartbroken at the loss of my father. He was a profound influence in my life and I will always miss him.  His passing will create a huge void, but I sincerely thank everyone who expressed love and concern.  He touched the lives of many fellow Louisianans and I know he will be remembered with great fondness.”

Among Edwards’ last words were, “I have lived a good life, had better breaks than most, had some bad breaks, too, but that’s all part of it. 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.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards issued the following statement on the passing of former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards:

“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.

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement upon the passing of former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards:

“Becky and I are praying for former governor Edwin Edwards’s family during their time of deep loss. He lived a full life, and our hearts go out to his loved ones.”

State Legislative leadership released the following statement on the passing of former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards:

Senate President Patrick “Page” Cortez said, “It is with a heavy heart that I must speak on the passing of former Governor Edwin Edwards. He was a trailblazer for the state of Louisiana, serving as a state senator, US congressman and as Louisiana’s longest serving Governor, with 4 terms. His influence was greatly felt especially through his yearning to help minority groups and those less fortunate. His charm and wit along with his political fortitude will certainly be very much a part of his legacy.”

Speaker Clay Schexnayder said, “I first met Edwin Edwards before I was in politics and was working as a mechanic. The thing I admired most about him is whether I was working as a mechanic or serving as a Speaker of the House he treated me no different. He won over the people of Louisiana with a big personality and with compassion, holding the longest-running reign as governor to prove it. He stood up for what he believed whether it was the popular opinion or not and led our great state through both trying times and through days of great strength. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him. I extend my thoughts and prayers to his family during this difficult time. May they find peace in knowing he lived a full life.”

On July 5, Edwards and his wife Trina announced that he had entered hospice care, though no specific details were given about his condition. “Since I have been in and out of hospitals in recent years with pneumonia and other respiratory problems, causing a lot of people a lot of trouble, I have decided to retain the services of qualified hospice doctors and nurses at my home,” Edwards said in a statement. “I’ve made no bones that I have considered myself on borrowed time for 20 years and we each know that all this fun has to end at some point.”

During the coronavirus pandemic in Nov. 2020, Edwards was hospitalized with what were described as breathing problems, later diagnosed as pneumonia. Although the former governor had other health scares in recent years, friends and family said he remained mentally sharp and active well into his 90s.

Edwards, whose nicknames included “the Cajun Prince,” “the Silver Fox,” “the Silver Zipper” and “Fast Eddie,” was a charismatic, colorful and politically savvy figure. He dominated state politics during the final three decades of the 20th century, and history no doubt will note the irony of Edwards running as a “reformer” in his first bid for governor, in 1971.

Edwin Washington Edwards – often referred to by his initials, EWE – was born Aug. 7, 1927 in rural Avoyelles Parish, in the community of Mansura, just outside the central Louisiana town of Marksville. Edwards’ father was a sharecropper and his mother, the local midwife.

As a young preacher and student at Marksville High School, he also learned to employ humor in his sermons and daily life, which made him popular. He was elected president of his senior class.

Edwards enrolled in Louisiana State University after graduation but left in 1945 to enlist in the U.S. Navy as World War II was coming to an end. He returned home and enrolled in LSU law school, becoming a lawyer at age 21.

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