Edwards was convicted back in 2001. I moved here about that time. Therefore, I never lived in Edwardian Louisiana.
However, I’ve talked to enough people to be convinced that, aside from his extended encounter on the wrong side of the law, the four-term governor definitely has some magic attached to him.
Edwards stories have long fascinated me—the Free Edwards movement. George W. Bush’s refusal to pardon him. The love and affection many die-hard Republicans still feel toward him, regardless of the circumstances. And now, that he has served his state and his time—the throngs of people flocking to be his friend on facebook is another indication of the support he continues to enjoy.
By Thursday night, in about a week’s time, Edwin Washington Edwards had accumulated 2,631 friends. In facebook speak, that’s impressive.
Born way back in 1927, Edwards will celebrate his 84th birthday in August. Judging by the speed he confirms facebook friends and answers messages, he’s a very computer-savvy
Here’s what he wrote about himself on his profile page:
“I have had a long and interesting life. I went from a sharecropper’s farm in the depressions days of the ’30s to the halls of congress and the governor’s mansion in Louisiana. I have been to the depths and risen to the heights as the only 4-term governor of our state. I am now retired and will be traveling the state during the coming months for scheduled book signing events; to meet and greet old friends and make new ones. In spite of my age I have no disabilities and I am in reasonably good health for which I am very thankful.”
Plenty of people on the page are urging him to run again, displaying “Edwards for Governor” buttons and much enthusiasm for the state’s prodigal son returned home.
Frankly, I find the whole exchange fascinating and so very Louisiana on so many levels.
Interestingly enough, two years ago, another “Edwin Washington Edwards” send me a facebook friend request. At first, I presumed it was a prank of some sort. Then I noticed some of the people friending this Edwards seemed to have legitimate ties to the former governor. So, I sent him a
At the time, I was teaching in a local high school. I was confused as to how someone serving time in a federal prison could have access to Facebook when I couldn’t get it at the high school where I was teaching. So, I asked the person on the other end of the screen that question.
The reply: Silly. There’s MUCH more freedom in prisons (with the sole exception of having the choice to leave) than in schools.
Even though that and the other replies seemed quite reasonable, I wasn’t convinced the former governor was on the other end of the connection at the Federal Correctional Institution in Oakdale.
Shortly after our exchange in February 2009, the Edwin Washington Edwards Facebook page was gone.
For the sake of curiosity, I hung onto our exchange. I thought it to be good fodder—regardless of who wrote it.
This week when Edwin Washington Edwards and I became Facebook friends again, I decided to ask him about it.
His reply: Two years ago, I was in prison and had no access to the Internet so it was not me.
I sent him the exchange and he again assured me he had not created a Facebook page while serving in federal prison. For some reason, I found this news comforting.
Additionally, he was curious to find out who had done it.
I decided to ask for his advice on staying in good health.
Here is his reply verbatim: “I’ve heard You’re only as young as the woman you feel … if that’s true I’m only 32. That’s the only advice I have to give you on staying young! *smiling*”
He also mentioned he’d be stopping in Lafayette at some point soon to sign copies of his book.
Godspeed, Edwin Edwards.
Only in Louisiana.