NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — On Monday, July 12, Former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards passed away peacefully at his home in Gonzales, surrounded by family and friends.
Flags around the state flew at half staff in honor of Louisiana’s only four-term governor.
According to his doctors, Edwin Edwards expired of respiratory problems that had plagued him in recent years. Edwards was less than a month shy of his 94th birthday.
After hearing of his death, several Louisiana politicians shared their thoughts:
Governor John Bel 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.”
Senator John Kennedy
“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.”
House Republican Whip Steve Scalise
“Jennifer and I are saddened to hear of the passing of former Governor Edwin Edwards, and we offer our sincerest condolences to his family. His larger-than-life personality made him one of the most colorful governors in our state’s history. We ask that you join us in praying for his family during this time.”
Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng
Former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards has passed away. He was a larger-than-life leader and a dear friend of my dad who cared deeply for all Louisianans, serving a four-year term as governor of our great state. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones during this difficult time.
Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks
Louisiana lost a friend and legend this morning with the passing of Governor Edwin Edwards. I first met Governor Edwards in 1983. By that time, he was well known for his political savvy and genuine concern for the people of Louisiana, especially the less fortunate.
When he ran for Congress in 2014, I had the pleasure of rekindling our friendship when he came to my office. I offered him a bottle of spring water. He quipped that he wondered what the people of Kentwood would think if I had offered him anything other than Kentwood spring water. I was amazed that he remembered I was from Kentwood.
He had an amazing memory. I asked him once about his ability to remember names and his uncanny memory recall. He looked at me and said, “President Ricks, I feel I have been very blessed with that ability.”
I feel Louisiana was very blessed to have been represented by this man. His genuine love for the people of Louisiana has had a profound and lasting effect that will always be part of his colorful legacy. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Acadian Companies Chairman & CEO Richard Zuschlag
“I was saddened to learn of the passing of Governor Edwin Edwards this morning. I was fortunate to visit with him within the past month to discuss Acadian’s 50th anniversary, and we reminisced about how his administrations supported our company and our employee-owners over the years. One of the lasting memories I will have of Governor Edwards is how adamant he was that the rural areas of Louisiana receive the same high level of emergency care we provided in the more populated areas.
During our visit, his memory was as sharp as his legendary wit. He made a profound impact on Louisiana during his unprecedented four terms as governor. He deeply loved Louisiana and her people. My condolences go out to his family and friends.”
House Democrats Chair Sam Jenkins
“Louisiana mourns the loss of a political titan and great man. Governor Edwards’ charm and sense of humor were known around the world, but in Louisiana, he was better known for his heart—a heart full of compassionate love for his state. Throughout his storied political career, the governor fought to improve the lives of Louisiana’s working people and was a strong supporter of civil rights. Famously, he showed that racists like David Duke have no place in Louisiana politics. In later years, Governor Edwards happily provided sage advice to new generations of Louisiana leaders—regardless of political party and ideology. He never stopped working to make Louisiana a better place, and he will be dearly missed. Please join me and the Democratic Caucus in celebrating Governor Edwards’ life and legacy, and please join our prayers for Governor Edwards’ wife Trina and all who loved him.”
Born in Marksville in Avoyelles Parish during the Great Flood of 1927, in 1944, Edwin Edwards joined the U.S. Navy when he was 17 and became a pilot. His squadron was deploying to the Pacific theatre when Japan surrendered, ending World War II.
Edwards graduated from LSU Law School in 1949, served two terms as a Crowley City Councilman in Acadia Parish; one term in the Louisiana Senate as a floor leader for Governor John McKeithen; one term in Congress; and four terms as governor.