Edwin Edwards, Flamboyant Louisiana Governor, Is Dead at 93

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Politics|Edwin Edwards, Flamboyant Louisiana Governor, Is Dead astatine 93


He served 4 terms, charmed voters with his escapades and survived a people of investigations earlier going to situation successful 2002 for racketeering.

July 12, 2021, 10:43 a.m. ET


Mere months aft  being released from prison, erstwhile  Gov. Edwin Edwards of Louisiana greeted an enthusiastic assemblage  arsenic  the Grand marshal of the 2011 International Rice Festival successful  Crowley, La.
Credit...Jennifer Zdon for The New York Times

Edwin W. Edwards, the lone four-term politician successful Louisiana’s history, a swashbuckling rogue who charmed voters with his escapades and survived a people of expansive assemblage investigations and 2 corruption trials earlier going to situation successful 2002 for racketeering, has died. He was 93.

The decease was confirmed by Daniel Small, Mr. Edwards’s erstwhile lawyer. Mr. Small did not specify the cause.

In January 2011, Mr. Edwards was released from a national situation successful Oakdale, La., aft serving much than 8 years of a 10-year condemnation for bribery and extortion by rigging Louisiana’s riverboat casino licensing process during his past word successful office.

Six months aboriginal helium married. And successful the fall, helium rode successful an unfastened convertible done cheering crowds waving Edwards-for-governor signs astatine an election-day barbecue. “As you know, they sent maine to situation for life,” helium told them. “But I came backmost with a wife.”

Before Mr. Edwards, nary 1 had ever been elected to much than 2 presumption arsenic politician of Louisiana. Indeed, the authorities constitution prohibits much than 2 consecutive terms. But from 1972 to 1996, with a mates of four-year furloughs to stoke up his improbable comebacks, Mr. Edwards was the undisputed king of Baton Rouge, a Scripture-quoting, nonsmoking teetotaler who erstwhile considered beingness arsenic a preacher.

In a authorities wherever it has ever been bully authorities to wink astatine a small wickedness, Mr. Edwards, the silver-haired, bilingual lad of French Creole sharecroppers and a relentless electoral and legislative infighter, was possibly the astir ascendant governmental unit since Huey Long, the extremist populist known arsenic the Kingfish, who was assassinated astatine the State Capitol successful 1935.

Courting votes successful a bayou drawl with Cajun-inflected pledges to “laissez les bons temps rouler” (“let the bully times roll”), Mr. Edwards — who avoided the prototypical governmental sins of aforesaid righteousness and talked the mode plain folks did implicit gumbo and crawfish pastry — roseate from a section assembly to the State Senate to a spot successful Congress and the governor’s mansion successful 17 years.

A implicit obituary volition beryllium published shortly.

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