Officials of Paragon Casino Resort have announced that Avoyelles native Edwards will appear at the Earl Barbry, Sr. Convention Hall in the Mari Center on August 9 beginning at 6:30 p.m. The event is open to the public and free of charge.
Edwards is beginning a state-wide book signing tour and out of respect and appreciation for supporters in his native Avoyelles Parish, he has scheduled one of his first stops of the tour in Marksville.
The former governor, along with Leo Honeycutt, author of “Edwin Edwards-Governor of Louisiana,” will also conduct a book signing in the convention hall ballroom. The 546-page book traces Edwards’ life from his birth into a poor farming Avoyelles family to his first week in federal prison. It will be available for purchase on-site.
In 2005, Honeycutt was selected by Governor Edwards as his official biographer. After five years of exhaustive research and face-to-face interviews with Edwards, the book was published in December 2009, becoming an instant bestseller with 10,000 sold in the first three days mostly in Baton Rouge. Twenty thousand sold within two weeks across Louisiana with orders for 25,000 more in January 2010.
Edwards, age 84, was invited by former Avoyelles Parish School Superintendent James Bordelon who called him on behalf of the Lions Club. Bordelon said Edwards was anxiously looking forward to meeting his old friends and associates from Avoyelles.
Marksville native Edwards, left Avoyelles after he graduated from high school, but has always maintained connections with cousins and friends here. The popularity which put him in office four terms is still evident in the sales of his biography, as well as the 1,500 or so people expected to attend the Marksville appearance.
Edwards is also scheduled to meet with several of his classmates with whom he graduated from Marksville High School in 1944. One of these classmates was former long-time Avoyelles State Representative Raymond Laborde, who was also Edward’s Commissioner of Administration during his last term in office.
Born on Red River
Edwards was born August 7, 1927 on the banks of the Red River in Avoyelles Parish. He graduated from Marksville High School in 1944 and from LSU law school with an LLB- later converted to a Doctor of Laws- in January of 1949. He began the practice of law in Crowley in 1949. In April of 1949 he married Marksville native Elaine Schwartzenburg. They are parents of four children and have 12 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
During a long political career spanning over 45 years he was twice elected to the Crowley City council, once to the Louisiana State Senate, four times to the United States Congress, and four times to the governor’s office.
He is the only governor to be elected four times (1972–1980, 1984–1988 and 1992–1996) in the history of the state of Louisiana. Edwards was also Louisiana's first Roman Catholic governor in the 20th century.
Edwards began serving eight and a half years in prison beginning in 2002 following a conviction on racketeering charges related to the award of state licenses for gambling casinos. He was released from federal prison in Oakdale on January 13 and is set to be released from a halfway house in Baton Rouge this Wednesday.
Two men whom Edwards defeated in Louisiana elections, David C. Treen and J. Bennett Johnston, Jr., and a third who was his protegé, John Breaux, confirmed in July 2007 that they intended to approach then U.S. President George W. Bush about procuring a pardoner commutation for Edwards, who celebrated his 80th birthday in prison in August 2007. However, Bush denied a pardon for Edwards before he left the presidency on January 20, 2009.
There is a possible reality show focusing on Edwards’ personal life, including his engagement to Trina Grimes Scott, who is in her 30s. Scott would be Edwards’ third wife. Edwards recently posted on Facebook that he and Scott are in talks for a reality show.
“We have received a lot of questions but have no answers at this time. Thanks for all the interest and we will try to keep you posted!” Edwards wrote in an update last Monday.
Edwards has spent the last several months out of prison at a halfway house, as he prepares for the end of his sentence. As part of his adjustment back into society, the federal system required him to have a job while at the halfway house. So the former governor has worked for Buddy Leach, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Louisiana as a business consultant, researching law for Leach’s land and oil company in Baton Rouge.