Democratic politician Edwin Edwards was born in Avoyelles Parish, near Marksville, Louisiana, on August 7, 1927. He attended Louisiana State University and LSU Law School, graduating with his law degree in 1949. In 1954, Edwards was elected to the Crowley City Council (Louisiana), as well as in 1964, he won election to the Louisiana State Senate. He served in the House until 1972, when he was inaugurated to the Louisiana governorship. Edwards served four terms as governor (197280; 198496), during which time he stood trial for, but was not convicted of, charges coming from a money-making scandal calling for hospital permits. In 1998, Edwards was convicted on several charges stemming from a casino permit scheme, and subseqeuntly served a two-year term. In 2013, he along with his wife, Trina Scott Edwards, became the focus of an A&E Network television series, The Governor’s Wife.
Edwards went to practice law in Crowley, Louisiana, where he was elected to the Crowley City Council in 1954. Around this same time, he started serving as an ad hoc judge of the Crowley City Court. He was reelected to the Crowley City Council in 1958.
In 1971, Edwards was elected to the Louisiana governorship—his success was mainly reinforced by a mixture of “Cajun” and black votes—and went on to serve two successive periods, from 1972 to 1980. Edwards garnered public acclaim for a number of achievements as governor, including revising Louisiana’s severance tax on crude oil, which raised sales for the state, and spearheading an effort to replace the antiquated Louisiana Constitution of 1921. A constitutional convention redrew the constitution and sent the newest draft to voters in 1973; voters passed the new constitution in 1974, also it went into effect the next year.
Edwards was elected to a third term as governor in 1983, and won a fourth and final period in 1991. His third period was marked by declines in petroleum costs and state revenues, in addition to national indictments for mail fraud, obstruction of justice and public bribery brought by U.S. Lawyer John Volz; Edwards was accused of a scandal involving the sale of hospital permits that made almost $2 million. He stood trial for the charges in 1985 and again in 1986, but was never convicted. Edwards’s state reign finished in 1996.
Through the conclusion of his final period, a fresh investigation of Edwards’s fiscal trades started. In 1998, a federal grand jury indicted the former govenor, along with his son, Stephen Edwards, and four co-workers, on counts of racketeering, extortion, money laundering, mail fraud and wire fraud stemming from a scheme that included the illegal creation riverboat casino licenses in exchange for countless dollars. Edwards subseqeuntly served a two-year sentence, 2002 to 2004, in the Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
In 2013, the 85-year old Edwards and his wife, 34-year old Trina Scott Edwards, became the focus of a brand new television series produced by A&E Networks, The Governor’s Wife. The show, which will be slated to debut in summer time of 2013, will occur after the couple as they redefine a “new normal” in the new South.