Daily Archives: December 17, 2009

Jim Brown on the authorized biography of Edwin Edwards

Thursday, December 16, 2009
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

WHY ALL THE INTEREST IN EDWIN EDWARDS?

The new authorized biography of former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards went on sale this week. In three days, the first run of 10,000 books was completely sold out. And there are pre orders for 10,000 more. People in the Louisiana book trade say they have never seen anything like the demand to buy the Edwards book. He is 82 and in the federal penitentiary. So why all the interest?

According to author Leo Honeycutt, Edwards is an enigma…a puzzling political personality shaped by his background, and a lifetime effort to climb to the top of the heap. Did he cross the imaginary line of political propriety in his public dealings? Honeycutt astutely argues that the line often moves with the times, and can be bent and shaped by unscrupulous federal prosecutors.

The project of an authorized biography, the Edwards story with both his and his family’s full cooperation, began five years ago a few years after Edwards began serving his 10 year federal sentence. Some longtime friends of the former governor were anxious to have a “balanced” perspective written of Edwards’ public and private life. After interviewing a number of prospective biographers, Leo Honeycutt was given the task.

Three reasons emerge as to why there continues to be so much interest in the continuing saga of the state’s longest serving governor. First of all he is a likeable rogue. Even his ardent distracters over the years found him to be funny and highly entertaining. Few came close to mesmerizing a crowd like the Cajun from Crowley. He could have handled a late night talk show with much more pizzazz and humor than Conan Obrien on any night of the week.

During Edwards’ third term as Governor, I invited him to speak in New Orleans to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Continue reading