Nathan Stubbs

Edwards bio tells his side of story

by Nathan Stubbs

A new authorized biography of Edwin Edwards, written by broadcast journalist Leo Honeycutt, is expected in stores across Louisiana this week. The bio, according to a story in the Sunday Times-Picayune, is "a sympathetic look at Edwards' life from his Depression-era childhood in dirt-poor rural Avoyelles Parish to his historic four terms as governor and finally to his identity as #03128-095, his Federal Bureau of Prisons number." Honeycutt has spent the last five years working on the book, including 48 hours worth of interviews with Edwards in prison. The book's original manuscript was finished in 2007 and was 1,800 pages long. Honeycutt has spent the last two years whittling it down to 650 pages.

The book contains a prologue written by Edwards rival turned friend, former Gov. Dave Treen, who in recent years lobbied to get Edwards' prison term commuted. Treen wrote the prologue just months before his death on Oct. 29. Edwards pens the book's epilogue, 16 pages that he composed from his prison cell. In it, Edwards writes:
"I am too far from the womb and too close to the tomb for anything to matter more than the truth. I may live to get out of prison or I may not. If I do, I hope to accomplish some final gift to my state that in some way may restore my legacy...

Yes, I admit I am guilty of letting some shady folks get close to me (individuals) whom I thought I could help legitimately and some were less than honest. I see that that rubbed off on me and gained me the moniker of crook, guilt by association.

Finally, I admit I was guilty of not taking more personal responsibility of my questioned actions at the time. ... In trying my best to run the state while I also tried to ensure the future of my family. ... I thought my business was my business as long as I did nothing illegal.

I see now that perception is reality and I should have been more careful in choosing enterprises and partners. Additionally I should have had a better eye toward transparency and should not have taken it personally when a reporter questioned my decisions. To the extent that I tainted my beloved state's image, I am deeply sorry."