Edwin Edwards, the most colorful political felon in America, has remarried at 84. The lucky bride is 32 years old; they met after she began writing him letters while he was serving a well-deserved prison sentence for ripping off the citizens of Louisiana he swore to protect.Louisiana needs all the help it can get, but this apparently never made much impression on Edwards; laissez les bon temps rouler was the guiding star of his political career. The stories of his corruption are legion; the government finally got him for corruption involving riverboat casino licenses. He still plays the charming rogue; the AP reports him chatting with reporters after his French Quarter wedding:
“People who don’t know me don’t know what a wonderful, pleasant, modest fellow I am,” Edwards said when asked how a man his age managed to land a much-younger wife.
Edwards was in fact a gifted politician who could have done wonders for his state. He chose to squander those talents instead. Those who suffered in the Katrina aftermath paid part of the price for Edwards’ selfishness and sloth. Had he used his gifts to reform and rebuild state government, rather than reveling in the corruption and incompetence around him, New Orleans’ flood defenses might have weathered Katrina — and even if they did not, the city and state responses to the disaster would not have been so shambolic.One hopes that at some point Edwin Edwards will realize just how nasty and cheap his career really was. Those hurt worst by his decades long perversion of duty were the poor and the weak who truly needed the help he chose not to provide.