Edwin Edwards is barely singed at 84th birthday roast
Edwin Edwards may be Louisiana's most controversial governor in the modern era, but you never would have known it Saturday night at his 84th birthday roast, which was largely a no-carve zone.
Enlarge Michael DeMocker, The Times-Picayune
MICHAEL DeMOCKER / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE Former governor Edwin Edwards and his new bride Trina are followed by cameras as they leave a press conference at the Hotel Monteleone on Saturday, July 30, 2011.
Edwin Edwards Press Conference gallery (7 photos)
Instead, more than 500 political and business heavyweights heard a panel of "roasters" including state Sen. John Alario, state Democratic Party chieftain Buddy Leach, former Insurance Commissioner Jim Brown and "blue dog" artist George Rodrigue crack jokes and toss bouquets, including numerous testimonials to Edwards' legendary sexual exploits.
Referring to the 50-year age gap between Edwards and his new bride, Trina, Alario related a story that Edwards' brother Marion, the evening's emcee, told him. Marion had warned his brother that at his age, sex could be dangerous to one's health.
"Well, Marion," Edwards replied, "if she dies, she dies."
Roasters trod lightly on Edwards' eight years in prison, referring to his time behind bars as his "sabbatical leave," his "vacation" and his "public service engagement."
Leach, who hired Edwards while the former governor was in a halfway house, offered advice to others who might consider employing an "84-year-old who didn't know he was in prison."
One suggestion: "Take the sofa out of his office."
Businessman Bill Goldring jokingly presented Edwards with a gold-painted attache case, calling it the "pot of gold at the end of the rainbow."
Edwards opened it, fingered a stack of bills and quipped, "Like you, it's counterfeit."
Former House Speaker Bubba Henry added that when he saw Edwards for the first time after prison, "I thought he had lost weight." But Henry said he then realized "he wasn't wearing that money belt anymore."
When they did get serious, the panelists focused on Edwards' love for his new wife, his history of caring for the underprivileged, his civil rights record and his ability to get things done.
"The only time he was disagreeable was when you disagreed with him," Henry said.
The crowd of guests who paid $250 a plate to dine on filet mignon at the Hotel Monteleone included a host of familiar faces, including state Senate President Joel Chaisson, former Senate President Sammy Nunez, former Sens. Francis Heitmeier and Hank Braden, former District Attorney Harry Connick, attorney Mike Fawer and Jennifer Flowers.
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I was there last night. We went to the French Quarter with some people that were in from out of town. and actually went there last night. I told them I'd buy a book if they would let me in. I was in shorts and a tee shirt.
When Edwin was Gov of the Banana Republic he had a nickname.
I sh.it you not. The crack of dawn wasn't safe around Eddie.
I don't have much respect for someone who'll take bribes from the Mafia to line his pockets while in office. I don't care if he saved Jesus from drowning.
Aw politics. Small town big city there all the same.
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