Edwin Edwards, Former Louisiana Governor Who Dominated State Politics Before Going To Prison, Dead At 93

Edwin Edwards, Former Louisiana Governor Who Dominated State Politics Before Going To Prison, Dead At 93

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NEW ORLEANS, La. (AP) – Edwin Washington 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. He was 93. 

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, near the Louisiana capital.

“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,” Edwards said in some of his last words, according to Honeycutt’s statement. 

Earlier in the week, the former governor also said, “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.” For him, that time was shortly after daybreak this morning, the statement said.

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A native of Louisiana’s Acadiana region who swore his 1972 oath of office in French and English, Edwards enjoyed renewed popularity after emerging from prison in 2011 at age 83. His quick wit and flamboyant character intact, he married Trina Grimes, then 32, his third wife. They met when she began visiting him in prison after they struck up a pen-pal relationship. 

“I would have walked into prison a happy man had I known how it was going to end,” he said at his lavish 90th birthday bash in August 2017.

FILE – In this Nov. 4, 2014, file photo, former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards addresses the crowd during an election watch party in Baton Rouge, La.  Edwin Washington 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, July 12, 2021 . He was 93.  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, near the Louisiana capital. (AP Photo/Bill Feig, File) (AP Photo/Bill Feig, File)

They had a son, Eli, in 2013 and starred in a short-lived reality TV show, “The Governor’s Wife.” The lifelong Democrat also attempted a political comeback, losing a runoff to a Republican in a south Louisiana congressional race in 2014. 

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.

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Edwin Edwards, former Louisiana governor who dominated state politics before going to prison, dead at 93

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