Former LA first lady Elaine Edwards dead at 89
BATON ROUGE - Elaine Edwards, the ex-wife of former governor Edwin Edwards, has passed away at age 89.
Edwards died at her daughter's home in Denham Springs around 11 a.m. Monday. Officials say she had been in failing health for some time.
She served as the first lady alongside her husband from 1972 to 1980 and again from 1984 to 1988. Elaine was also briefly appointed to the US senate in 1972 after the death of Allen Ellender. She vacated the position after a new senator was elected.
Elaine and Edwin split in 1989 after 40 years of marriage.
Edwards released this statement about her passing:
"We were married for 43 years and she was a great asset to me as governor during my first three terms. She spent a great deal of time raising funds for the crippled children's hospital in New Orleans, which was named for my mother. We are the parents of four children and grandparents of numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. I know she was very sick and suffered tremendously for the last few months and while her passing is sad, death was inevitable. I give my sympathy to my children; I have expressed my appreciation for their loyalty to their mother. We cannot revive the dead or change the past. I'm very grateful and appreciate the expression of symphony from so many mutual friends."
Edwin Edwards' current wife, Trina, released this statement Monday afternoon:
"As strange as our friendship was, Elaine and I were indeed friends and over the last 8 years, we developed a mutual respect for each other. She was always included in holidays and special occasions at our house. When Eli was born, she made a quilt for him and signed it 'Love, granny.' She was elegant... and the picture of class. While we are comforted in knowing she is out of pain, her absence will be felt in our family. I wish my step-children and step-grandchildren comfort and peace during this sad time."
Governor John Bel Edwards' office released the following statement Monday:
“Donna and I send our prayers and condolences to the family of former First Lady Elaine Edwards,” said Gov. Edwards. “She served this state as the first lady and the country as a U.S. Senator with class, compassion and a true commitment to the people of Louisiana. As the matriarch of her family, she imparted great wisdom and leaves behind a remarkable legacy of giving back to others and a dedication to public service. Her love for this state and its citizens will be long remembered."
"Elaine has left an indelible mark as the longest serving first lady of Louisiana," said First Lady Donna Edwards. “She certainly set the stage for those who have been blessed to serve in the same capacity. We were fortunate to interview her and learn more about the history of the Governor’s Mansion and the story behind the beautiful magnolias she needlepointed for several chairs here. In fact, they became the inspiration for our upcoming book Memories in the Mansion. She was a true inspiration, and we look forward to sharing more of her contributions to our great state soon.”