Post by 49ersfootball on Mar 17, 2020 17:39:27 GMT
He was controversial, colorful, powerful & quite legendary in LA politics. This was among many of the traits of Edwin Washington Edwards, who shook up old-school politics in the Pelican State & safe to say: things weren't ever going to be the same.... stay tuned
Post by 49ersfootball on Mar 17, 2020 20:25:59 GMT
Prologue: The Campaign
1:25 PM CST, Monday, November 29th, 1971
1971 was the Year of Change: Louisianans were getting somewhat tired of the corruption scandals coming out of the administration of the outgoing Governor John McKeithen (D), whose administration had been getting praise for preventing bloodshed from escalating inside LA unlike what occurred in other Southern states during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. The battle to replace him was going to get very interesting on both sides of the political spectrum....
The Dem field was obviously crowded: conventional wisdom of many political analysts had predicted that the Gubernatorial contest would be coming down to US Rep. Gillis Long (D-LA), who was the nephew of the legendary United States Senator Huey P. Long (D-LA) & former LA Governor Earl Long (D) & the cousin of United States Senator Russell B. Long (D-LA); one of the early contenders also included 3-term LA Lieutenant Governor Clarence C. "Taddy" Aycock (D). However, there were two newcomers coming onto the political scene of the Pelican State: US Rep. Edwin Edwards (D-LA) & State Senator J. Bennett Johnston (D-Shreveport): both of whom were young, represented the new blood in the changing of the guard inside the LA Dems & across the state.
Both Edwards & Johnston also represented a growing trending happening in the South: young, youthful Governors, who were eager to join the likes of GA Governor Jimmy Carter (D), AR Governor Dale Bumpers (D), FL Governor Reubin Askew (D)......
Post by 49ersfootball on Mar 22, 2020 21:50:19 GMT
Other tidbits of the TL:
Chapter 1: 1.) Profile on Edwin Washington Edwards 2.) Profile on Elaine Edwards 3.) Segment on the 1971 Gubernatorial election 4.) Profile on John McKeithen 5.) Profile on Ernest "Dutch" Morial
Chapter 2: 1.) Profile on David Conner Treen 2.) Profile on J. Bennett Johnston 3.) Battle on the Dem side for LA Governor 4.) Profile on United States Senator Russell Long (D-LA) 5.) Treen & the LA GOP
Chapter 3: 1.) Profile on Jimmie Davis 2.) The New South 3.) Profile on Moon Landrieu
Post by 49ersfootball on Mar 30, 2020 15:12:43 GMT
Other tidbits of the TL Chapter 4: 1.) Dem Primary results 2.) GOP Primary results 3.) Runoff showdown on the Dem side: Edwards vs Johnston 4.) The importance of the African American vote
Chapter 5: 1.) Segment on the LA State Legislature 2.) Calls on changing the State Constitution 3.) Dem Primary Runoff results 4.) Edwards (D) vs Treen (R): The Face-Off 5.) Segment on the Treen campaign 6.) Segment on the Edwards campaign
Edwin Washington Edwards was born in rural Avoyelles Parish, near Marskville. His father, Clarence Edwards, was a half-French Creole Presbyterian sharecropper, while his mother, the former Agnes Brouillette, was a French-speaking Catholic. Edwards' ancestors were among early LA colonists from France who eventually settled in Avoyelles Parish, referred to as the original French Creoles. Edwards, like many 20th Century politicians from Avoyelles, assumed that he had Cajun ancestry, when in fact, he may have had none. His father descended from a family in KY, who came to LA during the American Civil War. His great-grandfather, William Edwards, was killed in Marksville at the beginning of the American Civil War because of his pro-Union sentiment.
The young Edwards had planned on a career as a preacher. As a young man, he did some preaching for the Marksville Church of the Nazarene. He served briefly in the United States Naval Air Corps near the end of World War II from 1945 to 1946. After being honorably discharged from the Navy once World War II ended, Edwards graduated from Louisiana State University Law Center at the age of 21 & began practicing law in Crowley, the seat of Acadia Parish. He relocated there in 1949 after his sister, Audrey E. Isbell, who had moved there with her husband, told him there were few French-speaking attorneys in the southwestern LA community. That same year, Edwards married his high school classmate, Elaine Schwartzenburg. This union would result in 4 kids: Anna, Victoria, Stephen & David.
Edwards' career was thus helped by his being bilingual & articulate in both English & Cajun French. He learned to cultivate the goodwill of the media, working reporters & editorial page editors. One of his favorites was Adras LaBorde, longtime managing editor of the Alexandria Daily Town Talk in Alexandria. LaBorde even influenced Edwards in regard to environmental policy.
Almost immediately, Edwards entered politics by getting elected as a member of the Crowley City Council in 1954 & was reelected in 1958 & again in 1962, serving for 10 years until 1964. In 1963, Edwards ran for a seat in the LA State Senate of the 35th District, where in that contest, he defeated the incumbent Bill Cleveland, a Crowley businessman who served for 20 years in both houses of the LA State Legislature. Years later as Governor, Edwards appointed Cleveland's daughter, Willie Mae Fulkerson, a former Crowley City Councilwoman, to the LA Board of Prisons.
After serving in the LA State Senate for less than two years as floor leader for Governor John McKeithen (D), Edwards was elected to the US House of Representatives from LA's 7th Congressional District, a position that he held from 1965 to 1972. He won the congressional seat in a special election called when the incumbent, T. Ashton Thompson of Ville Platte, was killed in an automobile accident near Gastonia, NC. Edwards was then easily reelected to 3 full 2-year terms in 1966 (100% of the vote unopposed), 1968 (84% of the vote) & again in 1970 (100% of the vote). While in Congress, Edwards served on the Public Works, Judiciary, & Internal Security committees. In 1970, he was one of the few Southern congressmen to aggressively support the extension of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Post by 49ersfootball on Apr 11, 2020 13:48:00 GMT
Upcoming tidbits of the TL Chapter 6: 1.) Election Day 2.) Segment on Treen's concession speech 3.) Victory speech from Edwards 4.) Aftermath of Edwards' landslide victory 5.) Governor McKeithen reflects on his legacy
Chapter 7: 1.) May 9th, 1972: Inauguration Day 2.) The Edwards family moves into the LA Governor's Mansion 3.) Shaking up Baton Rouge 4.) Sports highlights 5.) National & international highlights
Post by 49ersfootball on Apr 14, 2020 13:17:23 GMT
Upcoming tidbits of the TL: Chapter 8: 1.) The death of United States Senator Allen Ellender (D-LA) 2.) EWE makes an announcement on who'll be appointed to Ellender's US Senate seat 3.) Johnston's political comeback: the United States Senate. 4.) Treen runs for Congress 5.) Segment on New Orleans, LA Mayor Moon Landrieu (D) fixing a racially divided Crescent City
Chapter 9: 1.) The rise of African American politicos in the Pelican State 2.) Segment on EWE draining the swamp in Baton Rouge 3.) Influence on EWE changing the State Constitution.
Post by 49ersfootball on Apr 17, 2020 18:16:18 GMT
12:55 PM CST, Wednesday, November 3rd, 1971
Elaine Lucille Schwartzenburg was born on March 8th, 1929 in Marksville, LA to Errol Schwartzenburg, a grocery store owner & Myrl Dupuy Schwartzenburg. When she was nine years old, she contracted a bacterial bone infection in one leg, underwent several surgeries, & spent five years recuperating. She graduated from Marskville High School & in 1949, she married her childhood sweetheart Edwin W. Edwards, a native of Marskville & a lawyer. They raised 4 kids: Anna, Vicki, Stephen & David. Edwin embarked on a long political career in which he served as a Crowley, LA City Councilman, then serving in the LA State Senate & later winning four elections in the US House of Representatives. Elaine was active in her husband's political campaigns at the district & state level. She also remained at the family home in Crowley while her husband was serving in the US House of Representatives, but she answered phone calls at home on a second line, working with individual constituents to resolve Social Security & veterans' requests & relaying the information to Congressman Edwards' DC office. As her husband's political career developed, Elaine participated in a variety of civic & philanthropic pursuits ranging from the Special Olympics to project that raised $1 million for the Crippled Children's Hospital of New Orleans.
Post by 49ersfootball on Apr 17, 2020 19:11:03 GMT
1:51 PM CST, Sunday, December 7th, 1971
LA Governor's Mansion, Baton Rouge, LA
During the 2nd term of LA Governor John Julian McKeithen (D), pushing for the construction of the Superdome in New Orleans was one of McKeithen's priorities. He believed that it would help stimulate tourism & businesses in the port city. Despite initial misgivings by many, McKeithen was responsible for gaining approval of construction of the Louisiana Superdome, as it was originally called, by the LA State Legislature. He asserted the benefits of associated economic development would be worth the high cost.
McKeithen faced legislative opposition by a group of mostly young reformers known as the "Young Turks." One of their leaders was Robert G. "Bob" Jones, a state representatives from Lake Charles & the son of former Governor Sam Houston Jones (D). Jones objected to state funding of the Superdome in New Orleans & many state bond projects. The Young Turks favored a "pay-as-you-go" approach, rather than too much bonded indebtedness. In 1968, McKeithen launched a campaign to remove deadheads, or workers performing few productive tasks, from the state payroll. He faced a $61 million shortfall in the upcoming budget. In 1970, he gained a 2-cent sales tax increase to fund higher pay for teachers & state employees. He worked to expand construction on many public college & university campuses. He reformed the Department of Corrections & improved conditions at Angola State Penitentiary.
In the Summer of 1968, McKeithen's life was threatened after he began an investigation into labor-management racketeering. One man admitted to having received $5,000 to kill the Governor. McKeithen's security was enlarged, & no further threats were reported. Also in 1968, McKeithen suspended the controversial, colorful Sheriff Jessel Ourso of Iberville Parish, who was indicted in a repeated series of federal & state corruption charges. Ourso received acquittals or hung juries in all of them. He would later die in office in 1978 at the age of 46. McKeithen tapped freshman State Rep. Chris Fraser, Jr., of Baton Rouge, a confidant of former Governor Jimmie H. Davis, as the administration floor leader in the LA House of Representatives during the McKeithen 2nd term.
McKeithen's administration was criticized in the national press. Journalist David Chandler reported in Life Magazine that the Mafia had influence in LA state government. 39 state & local officials were eventually indicted for illegal activities, but no ties were found to McKeithen himself.
The McKeithen administration lost popularity in its 2nd term in part because of voter opposition to a one-cent increase in the state sales tax in the Summer of 1970. This was levied to fund pay increases for teachers & state employees. There was also a three-cent rise in cigarette taxes. The new revenues were projected to generate $120 million. In 1970, McKeithen said that he believed national social unrest had become harmful to the nation. In a civic address to the American Legion in Minden, LA., he said "Our country has gone too far to protect individual rights of citizens. We are now protecting the very persons who are trying to destroy our country from within. Russia, with all its might, would not dare to try to destroy the United States by force, but we are allowing the radicals, the scum of the country, to begin to destroy us from within."