No Legal Sports Betting in Louisiana! Should it Be? [Poll]

As the governor's race drew near, many of Edwards' friends encouraged him to abandon his planned comeback, believing that he had no chance to win. Edwards was found guilty on seventeen of twenty-six counts, including racketeering , extortion , money laundering , mail fraud and wire fraud ; his son Stephen was convicted on 18 counts. In June , his heavy lobbying led the state legislature to pass a bill calling for a single large land-based casino in New Orleans. The Treen budget, he claimed, would cut state spending too drastically and cause roads to fall apart, bridges to collapse, and insurance premiums to skyrocket. Retrieved October 31, In , Edwards appointed her as an interim U. Marion Edwards mocked the U.

Navigation menu


Following that, Edwards was placed on parole. His wife Trina made the announcement on her Facebook page. Without a pardon, Edwards remains ineligible to seek the governorship until 15 years have passed from the end of his sentence.

Edwards' ancestors were among early Louisiana colonists from France who eventually settled in Avoyelles Parish, referred to as the original French Creoles.

His father was descended from a family in Kentucky , who came to Louisiana during the American Civil War. His great-great-grandfather, William Edwards, was killed in Marksville at the beginning of the American Civil War because of his pro-Union sentiment.

Avoyelles Parish has been known for colorful politicians; another who stood out, F. The young Edwards had planned on a career as a preacher. As a young man, he did some preaching for the Marksville Church of the Nazarene. He served briefly in the U. After his return from the military, he graduated at the age of twenty-one from Louisiana State University Law Center and began practicing law in Crowley , the seat of Acadia Parish.

He relocated there in after his sister, Audrey E. Isbell, who had moved there with her husband, told him there were few French-speaking attorneys in the southwestern Louisiana community. Edwards' career was thus helped by his being bilingual and articulate in both English and Cajun French.

He learned to cultivate the goodwill of the media, working reporters and editorial page editors. LaBorde even influenced Edwards in regard to environmental policy. Edwards entered politics through election to the Crowley City Council in Edwards remained on the Crowley council until his election to the Louisiana State Senate in ; in that race he defeated in a major political upset in the Democratic primary the incumbent Bill Cleveland , a Crowley businessman who had served for twenty years in both houses of the Louisiana legislature.

After serving in the state Senate for less than two years as a floor leader for Governor John McKeithen , Edwards was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Louisiana's 7th congressional district , a position that he held from until He won the congressional seat in a special election called when the incumbent, T. Edwards was easily reelected to three full terms in the House in , and Edwards received more than 80 percent of the general election vote.

In , he was one of the few Southern congressmen to support the extension for five years of the Voting Rights Act of In the election of — , Edwards won the governorship after finishing first in a field of seventeen candidates in the Democratic primary, including the final race of former governor Jimmie Davis and Gillis Long , a relative of Huey Long. His greatest support came from southern Louisiana, particularly among its large numbers of Cajun, Creole, and African-American voters. In the first primary, Edwards led with , In third place was former Congressman Gillis Long of Alexandria, with , 14 percent.

Former Governor Jimmie Davis finished fourth with , Far to the rear of the pack was Congressman Speedy O. Long of Jena in rural La Salle Parish with only 61, 5.

Both Edwards and Johnston ran on reform-oriented platforms during the primary, but Edwards was more adept at making political deals and building alliances for the runoff round of voting. Edwards said that the major philosophical difference that he held with Johnston was in regard to their "awareness of problems of the poor. Waggonner of Bossier Parish , but the Shreveport state senator declined to accept Edwards' offer of a televised debate between the two.

Edwards defeated Johnston in the runoff, , The victory showed that south Louisiana was eclipsing the north in both population and in the future political domination of the state. Such public recognition of black political power by a Democratic governor of Louisiana was unprecedented. In the general election held on February 1, , Edwards faced Republican gubernatorial nominee David C. Treen , then of Metairie.

He did not run as the candidate who would continue the Democratic policies of his predecessor, John McKeithen, for whom Edwards had been a state senate floor leader. Instead he derided McKeithen as a " lame duck governor who doesn't want the new administration to do well.

He said the climate was not right for a Republican governor in Louisiana. He ridiculed Treen as having "never held a public office. He has run for office four times and has been defeated all four times. He can't even generate enough enthusiasm in his home district Jefferson Parish , where he is best known. Though Treen ran a vigorous campaign, Louisiana's Democratic tradition favored Edwards from the start, as Edwards had predicted. Edwards polled , Edwards picked up the enthusiastic backing of his runoff rival, J.

Bennett Johnston, later a U. One of Edwards' campaign strategists, Charles E. Roemer, II , of Bossier City , was appointed as the full-time commissioner of administration, a position that Roemer retained from to Roemer's son, Buddy Roemer , would serve as governor from to , sandwiched between the third and fourth Edwards terms.

Bill Dodd , who was defeated for state superintendent of education in the same election cycle that Edwards was winning the governorship for the first time, attributed the Edwards victory in part to political kingmaker Louis J. According to Dodd, Roussel "can do more than any other individual in Louisiana to elect any candidate he supports for any office in this state He is such a good administrator and motivator that he can put together an organization that will win in business and in politics.

Both in his political rhetoric and in his public persona, Edwards cast himself as a Louisiana populist in the tradition of Huey P. Long and Earl K. One of his first acts was to call for a constitutional convention to overhaul Louisiana's bulky charter. Many of the sections on state government were written by delegate Robert G. Pugh , a prominent Shreveport attorney, who became an advisor to Edwards and two other governors thereafter. Voters approved the new constitution by a three-to-two margin in , and government reorganization resulted.

For the first time Louisiana operated with a "cabinet style" executive department in lieu of the hundreds of boards and commissions that had existed for decades, each its own fiefdom. During his first two terms in office, Edwards developed a reputation for being one of the most colorful and flamboyant politicians in the history of a state known for its unorthodox political figures.

Charismatic, well-dressed, and quick with clever one-liners and retorts, Edwards maintained wide popularity. On taking office, Edwards hired J. Kelly Nix as his executive assistant and in elevated him to first executive assistant. In the second term, however, Nix left the administration to take office as the Louisiana state school superintendent.

He was later associate commissioner of higher education for the Louisiana Board of Regents , and an LSU journalism professor. Edwards also depended heavily on state Senator Sixty Rayburn of Bogalusa , whose year service earned him the sobriquet as "Dean of the Louisiana Senate. Schiele , whom he appointed in to succeed the embattled Noah W. Cross as sheriff of Concordia Parish in eastern Louisiana. Under Edwards, Michael H. O'Keefe of New Orleans in was named president of the state Senate, an office that was held by the lieutenant governor prior to the implementation of the state Constitution of In , as Edwards prepared to return to office, O'Keefe was engulfed in scandal and forced to leave the Senate.

He was as replaced by the Edwards loyalist, Samuel B. In , O'Keefe was still serving time in prison for a conviction. After enduring three grueling rounds of voting in the — campaign, Edwards pushed a bill through the legislature that limited state elections to two rounds by having Democratic, Republican, and independent candidates run together on the same ballot in a nonpartisan blanket primary.

Though the jungle primary system was intended to benefit Edwards' own political career, many observers cite it as being a major factor in the eventual rise of the state's Republican Party and the creation of a genuinely competitive two-party system. For this, Edwards was facetiously christened "father of Louisiana's Republican Party.

William Denis Brown, III , a lawyer and a state senator from Monroe , was Edwards's floor leader in the upper legislative chamber in the first term as governor. Thereafter from to , Brown was the chairman of the Louisiana Board of Ethics.

Early in the first gubernatorial term, Edwards initiated the creation of the first new Louisiana state constitution in more than a half century. He intended to replace the Constitution of , an unwieldy and outmoded document burdened with hundreds of amendments.

A constitutional convention was held in ; the resulting document was put into effect in As of [update] , the Constitution remains in effect. Edwards also undertook a major reorganization of the state government, abolishing over 80 state agencies and modeling the remaining structure after that of the federal government.

In his first year in office, Edwards appointed his wife Elaine Edwards , also a native of Avoyelles Parish, to complete the Senate term of the deceased Allen J. Edwards served from August—November , and during that time, the small town of Crowley boasted the governor, a U. Senator, and a U. Representative former Edwards aide John Breaux , who all lived within a few blocks of each other. An outspoken supporter of civil rights, Edwards appointed more blacks and women to high positions in his administration than had his predecessors.

Edwards named State Representative J. Burton Angelle of Breaux Bridge as his director of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries , a key appointment which Angelle filled for Edwards's first three terms of office.

Edwards' tenure in the s coincided with a huge boom in the state's oil and gas industry after the gas pricing crisis of Edwards was able to greatly expand the state's oil revenues by basing severance taxes on a percentage of the price of each barrel rather than the former flat rate. Much of this increased spending went toward health and human services program and increased funding for vocational-technical schools and higher education.

Edwards easily won reelection in , with , votes Secretary of State Wade O. Thereafter, Jones and Martin became Republicans. Addison Roswell Thompson , the perennial segregationist candidate from New Orleans, made his last race for governor in the primary. Though arguably minor compared to the Edwards scandals of the s and s, the governor was embroiled in several ethics controversies during his first two terms in office.

At the time, Edwards was remarkably candid about his questionable practices. When questioned about receiving illegal campaign contributions, he replied that "It was illegal for them to give, but not for me to receive. Edwards managed to avoid direct implication in the Roemer case. During the governor's first term, a disaffected former Edwards bodyguard named Clyde Vidrine made several high-profile accusations of corruption, including the sale of state agency posts.

The accusations were investigated by a grand jury, but the Edwards administration attacked Vidrine's credibility and the investigation stalled. Vidrine was murdered in December by the husband of a woman he was guarding, who believed Vidrine was having an affair with his wife. In a scandal known as Koreagate , it came to light that Edwards and his wife Elaine had received questionable gifts in , while Edwards was a U.

South Korean rice broker Tongsun Park was under investigation for trying to bribe American legislators on behalf of the South Korean government, and for making millions of dollars in commissions on American purchases of South Korean rice. In the course of the controversy, Edwards stated that he thought it was "super moralistic" for the U. The scandal also engulfed Edwards's former congressional colleague Otto Passman of Monroe , who was later acquitted of all charges in the case.

Barred by the state constitution from seeking a third term immediately after his second, Edwards temporarily left politics in but made it clear he would run again for governor in He began raising money and touring the state long before the election, maintaining what supporters called "the government in waiting.

In , Republican David Treen was narrowly elected governor on a pledge of good government reform. As widely expected, Edwards in defeated Treen's re-election attempt. The election offered a clear contrast between the flamboyant, charismatic Edwards and the low-key, policy-oriented Treen.

While Treen focused on Edward's reputation for corruption and dishonesty, Edwards sought to portray Treen as incompetent and unresponsive to the public. Treen said of Edwards: John Maginnis ' book, The Last Hayride , chronicles this colorful but lopsided campaign.

Treen's commissioner of administration, former legislator E. Before election day, Edwards joked with reporters: Then Shreveport Journal editor Stanley R. Tiner reported after the campaign of that Edwards does not believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and does not personally expect to go to heaven. There was an uproar in conservative religious circles, but the comments did not stop Edwards from finishing his term or winning a fourth election eight years later.

Edwards expected a 70 percent profit on the contributors' tickets to retire the debt. Bumper stickers were printed in blue and gold campaign colors and distributed to those who contributed to the retirement of this debt. For years afterwards, motorists saw on vehicles bearing the slogan, "I did Paris with the Gov.

State finances nosedived during the third Edwards administration. Money from petroleum severance taxes decreased sharply in the middle s because of plummeting oil prices. Republican State Representative Terry W. Gee of New Orleans said at the time, "Nobody realized the magnitude of what's going on; I've had phone calls in two days against the higher taxes. Much of Edwards' support in the s had been fueled by high levels of social spending during times of economic prosperity; with economic conditions worsening, his popularity waned.

To obtain passage of the higher taxes, Edwards first submitted Treen's — proposed budget as a warning to lawmakers. The Treen budget, he claimed, would cut state spending too drastically and cause roads to fall apart, bridges to collapse, and insurance premiums to skyrocket. Edwards predicted that if lawmakers passed Treen's budget instead of the higher taxes the voters would rebel and blame the legislature itself for the results.

In February , soon after his third term began, Edwards was forced to stand trial on charges of mail fraud , obstruction of justice , and bribery , brought by U. Edwards proclaimed his innocence and insisted that the charges were politically motivated by Volz and the Republican Party.

The first trial resulted in a mistrial in December , while a second trial in resulted in an acquittal. After Edwards and his four co-defendants were acquitted, the hotel where the jurors had been sequestered revealed that half of the jurors had stolen towels as they left. Long had correctly predicted in March that Edwards would indeed be acquitted by a Louisiana jury and that the ensuing trial would not disrupt state government.

Senate seat that he had held since , he indicated his preference for Edwards as his senatorial successor but added, correctly, that he did not think Edwards would enter the Senate election.

Prosecutors referred to Marion Edwards, also indicted in the alleged health care scheme, as a "bag man" for his brother. Marion ridiculed this characterization at a French Quarter bar in New Orleans, when media representatives were present. Edwards later recited during a toast at a French Quarter bar, though his beverage was non-alcoholic as he is a teetotaler, a rhyming invitation for Volz to "kiss my ass". The trials were rather lengthy, and at one point during the first trial but before the mistrial Edwards rode to the Hale Boggs U.

Courthouse on a mule from his hotel. When asked by reporters why he did so, he replied something to the effect that it was symbolic of the speed and intellect of the federal judicial system, but also that he supported 'tradition. Marion Edwards mocked the U. Department of Justice, U. Even after beating the Volz indictment, Edwin Edwards' popularity was in decline. Despite his acquittal, the trial brought many sordid details of Edwards's conduct under public scrutiny.

It was revealed that during frequent gambling trips to Las Vegas, Edwards lost hundreds of thousands of dollars under aliases such as T. Lee, later paying these gambling debts using suitcases stuffed with cash of unknown origin. After the trial, Edwards' support for the legalization of gambling as a solution to the state's severe revenue shortages contributed to a further decline in his popularity.

He had made unpopular budget cuts to education and other social programs earlier in his term. Beginning in January , he argued that legalizing casino gambling in up to fifteen locations and creating a state lottery would be a way to restore the programs, but the state legislature rejected his gambling proposals. Entering a tough re-election campaign in , Edwards seemed vulnerable. Going into the election, his disapproval ratings ranged from 52 to 71 percent.

Several notable candidates lined up to face Edwards in the gubernatorial election. Perhaps his strongest early challenger was Republican Congressman Bob Livingston. Also in the race were Billy Tauzin , a then-Democratic Cajun congressman from Thibodaux who was a strong Edwards supporter while serving in the state legislature from —80; Democratic Secretary of State Jim Brown of Ferriday , and a Democratic congressman from Bossier City , Buddy Roemer , the son of former Commissioner of Administration Charles Roemer, who climbed up from a series of low poll rankings early in the campaign.

Edwards was the issue of the campaign. Because of his name recognition, his resilient supporters, and unmatched political skill, even a weakened Edwards could safely assume he would win a place in Louisiana's unique primary election system runoff. The question was whether his opponent in the runoff would be someone who could beat him. There was a prevailing sense in the race that Edwards needed Livingston in the runoff. Livingston was a Republican in a state that had at that point elected only one Republican governor since Reconstruction.

And Livingston was widely perceived as lacking in charisma and personality, which would work to Edwards's advantage. Any other opponent, a moderate Democrat without the ethical problems, would be dangerous. To that end, Edwards talked up Livingston. Perhaps the key moment in the race came at a forum between the candidates. As usual, the main topic of discussion was Edwin Edwards. His challengers were asked, in succession, if they would consider endorsing Edwards in the general election if they did not make it to the runoff.

The candidates hedged, particularly Secretary of State Brown, a reliable Edwards supporter in the state Senate who in his election drew many of the same voters who supported fellow Democrat Louis Lambert in his failed gubernatorial bid in the same general election vs.

The last candidate to speak was Buddy Roemer: I would endorse anyone but Edwards. This marked the first time Edwin Edwards ever finished other than in first place in an election.

In what seemed to be the end of Edwards' political career, the governor withdrew from the contest in his concession speech, automatically electing Buddy Roemer governor. In fact, he was cleverly setting a trap for Roemer. By withdrawing, Edwards denied Roemer the opportunity to build a governing coalition in the general election race, and denied him the decisive majority victory that he surely would have attained.

In one stroke, Edwards made Buddy Roemer a minority governor. Also, Edwards virtually ceded control of the state to Roemer even before his inauguration. By doing so, he passed on the burden of the state's problems to the new governor, who was essentially under the gun even before assuming office.

For four years, Roemer struggled to be a reform governor of Louisiana as so many had before him. And although virtually no one realized it at the time, Edwin Edwards quietly waited in the wings for a return to power. As the governor's race drew near, many of Edwards' friends encouraged him to abandon his planned comeback, believing that he had no chance to win.

After Edwards' loss in , a journalist for the defunct Shreveport Journal wrote that the only way Edwin Edwards could ever be elected again was to run against Adolf Hitler.

These words turned out to be shockingly prophetic, since after the primary Edwards discovered his runoff opponent to be former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan , David Duke. Edwards received 34 percent of the vote while Duke received 32 percent.

Governor Roemer placed third, 80, votes behind Duke. The runoff between an avowed white supremacist and a former governor who was corrupt but was also perceived as minority-friendly, gained national attention. Support for Edwards grew in between the primary and the runoff. The coalition revealed through a recording of Duke at a White Nationalist conference that he was still involved in Ku Klux Klan activities. Faced with the alternative of Duke, many who were otherwise lukewarm for Edwards found him looking ever better.

Bush urged that Edwards, the Democrat, be elected over Duke. A popular bumper sticker urging support for Edwards although clearly not produced by his campaign read "Vote For the Crook. Edwards won by a wide margin. Continuing his artful use of humor to deflate an opponent, and referring to his considerable reputation as a ladies' man, Edwards said of Duke that "the only thing we have in common is that we both have been wizards beneath the sheets. In his last term, Edwards asked his boyhood friend, Raymond Laborde , to leave the state House after twenty years to serve as commissioner of administration.

Laborde, who had once defeated Edwards for class president at Marksville High School and had earlier been his legislative floor leader, agreed to join the administration. Reilly had been removed in as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee after having criticized Edwards. In the last term, Edwards promoted casino gambling in Louisiana, which had been a major part of his platform in the campaign. In June , his heavy lobbying led the state legislature to pass a bill calling for a single large land-based casino in New Orleans.

He also appointed a board that, at his private direction, awarded 15 floating riverboat casinos that had been authorized by the Legislature and the Roemer administration. He appointed a political ally, Paul Fontenot, to head the State Police; he would oversee the licensing and investigation of casino operators. On another front he again demonstrated his broad commitment to civil rights by becoming the first Southern governor to issue an executive order protecting lesbian, gay and bisexual persons from discrimination in state governmental services, employment and contracts.

November 20, — via Newspapers. March 26, — via Newspapers. March 28, — via Newspapers. Lebanon Daily News — via Newspapers. August 30, — via Newspapers. September 9, — via Newspapers. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — via Newspapers. April 13, — via Newspapers.

November 23, — via Newspapers. September 2, — via Newspapers. Philadelphia Inquirer — via Newspapers. Philadelphia Inquirer — via NewsBank. Memphis, TN — via NewsBank.

Harrisburg, PA — via NewsBank. May July 31, April 26, — via NewsBank. Archived from the original on December 1, Gaming and Leisure Properties. Retrieved — via GlobeNewswire. Philadelphia-area corporations including the Delaware Valley.

List of companies based in the Philadelphia area.