BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A more traditional person might call it crass, an ostentatious 90th birthday bash with a $250-per-person price tag to attend. But then, no one would call Louisiana’s four-term former governor, Edwin Edwards — the convicted felon with a wife five decades his junior, a 4-year-old son and a lifetime of making headlines — anything close to traditional.
The birthday festivities Saturday night at a posh Baton Rouge hotel sold out weeks in advance, with hundreds of elected officials, lobbyists and onlookers ponying up for tickets and a chance to watch the throw-back celebration remembering when Edwards was the Democratic king of Louisiana politics.
“A lot of people just feel personally close to him. No other governor has served four times. To me this is just a once-in-a-lifetime historic event,” said Robert Gentry, a former newspaper publisher and the long-time Edwards friend who organized the celebration.
Edwards called it “one of the highlights of my long career” to see the cocktail party and ballroom packed with more than 500 people, including Louisiana’s current governor, Democrat John Bel Edwards (no relation), Democratic former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Republican Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and Republican Senate President John Alario.
“Obviously he’s beloved by a lot of folks,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards.
The former governor’s daughter Anna was surprised so many celebrants turned out for a man out of office for two decades, but she’s been gratified to see how many people continue to embrace her father’s legacy even after…
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