The long-awaited biography on Louisiana four-term governor and Crowley native Edwin Edwards is scheduled to be released December 14.
Edwards, whose colorful style and penchant for reaching out to Louisiana's blue collar population made him one of the most popular governors in Louisiana history, is currently serving out a 10-year sentence for bribery and extortion involving a riverboat casino scheme. He is scheduled for release in July 2011.
Then President George W. Bush's non-pardon of Edwards upon his leaving office infuriated many powerful Louisianians including recently deceased former Governor and Edwards rival David Treen who said that "there were several errors in Edwards trial and that he had served enough time for any crime he committed".
Treen, who defeated Edwards in the gubernatorial election of 1980 and lost to him in the 1984 election, befriended Edwards later in life.
"While Governor Edwards and I seldom agreed on principles, I always admired his genuine love for Louisiana and his uncanny ability to get many things done to provide for people what he believed they needed," wrote Treen in the book's foreword.
The book, Edwin Edwards: An Authorized Biography, is written by famed writer Leo Honeycutt, who admitted that he was worried at first that Edwards may not want to delve into some of the darker periods of his life in the book.
"I'm too far from the womb and too close to the tomb for that to make any difference now, " replied Edwards in typical fashion.
The book, which originally had over 1800 pages before being cut down to 641, covers everything from Edwards entrance into politics to his entrance into prison.
Honeycutt described the years of research he had done on Edwards as "dizzying, there was little that happened in Louisiana for a quarter century that didn't have his imprint on it."
Serving as Louisiana's governor for four terms between 1972 and 1996, Edwards built a style as a deft politician who battled frequently with federal prosecutors. He said that he was the subject of two dozen investigations during his career and was acquitted on racketeering charges in the 1980's and once again in October 2000.
Edwards career began as a city councilman in Crowley where he had built a law practice. He won a seat in the Louisiana Senate over 20-year incumbent Bill Cleveland in what was considered a major upset at the time. He served as floor leader for Governor John McKeithen before he was elected to three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, including a 1968 victory over Republican Vance Plauche in which he received over 80 percent of the vote. He defeated Bennett Johnston, a senator from Shreveport to gain his first term as governor.
The fact that his former rivals, including Johnston and Treen among others, spoke out strongly in support of his pardon speaks volumes for the respect and admiration he still, regardless of any past transgressions, commands in Louisiana.
For more information refer to EdwinEdwards.net.