WWL>Topics>>4-15-14 3:10pm Angela: with Edwin & Trina Edwards

4-15-14 3:10pm Angela: with Edwin & Trina Edwards

Apr 15, 2014|

Angela sits down with former governor Edwin Edwards and his wife Trina.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Well what can we say that hasn't already been sent about Edwin Edwards. One of the most popular governors in Louisiana history. One of the most charismatic people ever in the state. But the man who spent almost nine years in prison for corruption. And to this day doesn't feel he was guilty. But prison wasn't the end of Edwin Edwards. Three years out he has a new wife a new baby. A quick stint in reality TV. And now a new campaign for US congress and he is barely. 86 years old he and his bride bride trainer our very special guest for the next hour. Think Q. We have tried since day one of them showed gadget I know you were pulled in many different directions thank you so much for coming on. Here we go back a long way we go that way we -- in all I was just a kid. I know. When you four years old I was four. Broadcasting on rampart street. -- wouldn't know about you 21 of our argue living happily ever after. And while we certainly happens from now. And I I believe is going to be forever. I'm not that it was very romantic. In him is he romantic. No not usually I think sometimes every once and a while he's surprises me. And admit they accuse them with -- -- -- parliament. You try. But you know I keep saying this it was. It was incredible I mean that the pen pal romance in prison and then getting married and then having a baby. Two men I mean if your life what -- incredible. It's all unbelievable and I can understand how people out there -- skeptical about it. And I understand that he's very unusual if not if it's not unique it certainly unusual. But I can simply say it happened and I never expected would happen I don't think she did either but we are very happy indeed did happen. You know I look -- -- I see that -- both very happy and you have this precious child Eli. But I wonder. What your life would have been if you could not that her and you had gotten out of prison what do you think you would have done. -- on have been much less happy and that's -- Had envisioned while I was in prison just getting out. And had no idea that public reaction Jimmie and talent gap that was very concerned that people would. Be very very antagonist to let me and I can understand that. But he don't turn out differently. And I really thought that what I would probably do would be to get out and and leave the state -- to retire in and be anonymous. Because I've been so much in the spotlight. All of my adult life that I just felt like I'm just gonna get out of it and and let bygones be bygones but then she came along. And of my health. Maintained. Good posture and I got out and was amazed and surprised and very. Grateful for the public reaction that I got from people as a travel around the state. We -- over fifty different communities. Seven books and I'm making speeches which is made my living. And now I just could not get over the reaction from people which was so positive and sympathetic and understanding. People either did not believe that a fracture. -- if -- did they forgave me. And that's. Something -- hard to understand because. Public figure is who -- Imprisoned and who found guilty of crimes have a high degree of visibility. And we should we sell for a great deal more than average purse itself was because. They have families and close friends know about it but in my case everybody knew about it so. The reaction has been remarkably. One opponent I'm very grateful for. Looked at your prison experience than -- did the whole thing but is there something that you. Learned or experienced. That you would not have if you would not gone to prison. Well I thought that I would learn humility but I don't think it quite did that. But I did learn something and that is in spite of what I can I consider then emphasize I consider. The crowds have been unfair. I held my held up head up and I went to prison and I did what I could while I was there to help out fellow prisoners. Helped a number of them get GD I was working with -- others before mark when my term ended and I didn't stick around to see that made it but I was hoping that would. And I was chief librarian in the prison and did what I could wrote letters for some of them who could read or write him. And many of whom had no no relatives no friends in their area and had no do. I -- what I could. -- to make things better for them not that I can do very much but I tried I made myself busy. And I did in prison what I do. Out of prison respond to people's need to try to make things better for -- because I'm no I'm lucky I have been I came into the world. With a you know with a poor family and my father had a third grade education my among the several who sharecroppers. Poor people. And my mother delivered over 18100 children as a mid life in the in the middle of the depression and -- before World War II. I spent my time wherever was making things better for other people because I was helping had a quick -- -- I could learn he's an. We always eats up up. Sparse as it was -- night sitting around a fan that table and you know that's one of things and I don't see much of anymore. We people just -- visit movement around in the various -- And that's so much to do and it has so much to grab attention that the close to -- relationships that. Existed when -- grownups don't seem to exist. And so all this good parchment that I have and being accepted by the people all those years. Made me realize -- -- and I was and that's one of the reasons that I wanted to do what I could to make other people's lives better. And then this came along. I had more than my share of good luck and I am grateful for. So I figured that haven't they share of bad luck which is on deserved it something that I can I can accept and I do. All right we're gonna move belong to in September you were being interviewed by Larry king and he and issue. -- do you wanna run ever again and you should know enough I even have a quote it was great I've had my time in the sun and it's time for me to enjoy the benefits of the -- And yet now you're gonna run so what what kicked off. The other day tell -- that to me you know 86 years old you a comfortable you have one. Beautiful baby bond a beautiful -- And nice home. One introduced to put other people do just do what you feel like doing that that's what I'm doing I feel like running for congress. And that's why I'm gonna run because I think I have sent to the awful. My experience in mom security in my dealings with people in the stayed in my knowledge of the government in my knowledge of the needs and desires of the people of Louisiana. Served me well. I've been in congress on the all the work and and I think I can put that talent to good use. And hopefully in the declining years in my life however have yet one more contribution to make. Stay with us we're gonna continue our talk with Edwin Edwards and his wife Katrina right after this I'm Angela on WWL. We are back with thought Edwin Edwards and his wife. Train up. He just asked me very good question and I actually one of your thoughts on it. On the Omnia congressman who was caught kissing. And people screaming for him to step down your thoughts. That's a decision you have to make himself but I have to say as a politician who probably have a difficult time. Given the short span he has between now and the election and the fact that he hasn't been in congress long enough to read a buildup of constituency. And any kind of a program. I just feel sorry for my hate for anybody to be in any kind of trouble even if it's self imposed. And I hope that in some way he's able to mend his fences with his wife and -- -- -- and them the lady and her husband can. Find some way to resolve their differences whatever they don't just like. To see people happy I don't like to see him unhappy. And it's the downside of living in a glass house that tried to me you know you have to be very very careful. And my my only concern about that is what I'm generally is said and that is. People who want to run for public office. I think should minimize this -- of value I'm a Christian -- a church school I'm a feminine man. Because. When this kind of thing happens if he. Causes a great deal of skepticism. -- -- people and that's not good. Do we those of us in public life. So a -- set an example would love that disqualifies him is another matter I don't know. And I I do I wish him well I'm not one of those people want to dump on -- separate because he's down. I'm not here to judge him. Let me ask who -- you would admire as leaders today. Today -- Who that's hard to say I really don't you know our. I grew up with people who worked great figures and we'll we'll mails from Arkansas Lyndon Johnson. Bill Clinton and people like that. That there's no money in either party now in my opinion that is willing to. -- work in and kind of principled compromise to get things done. If the president and his forward -- that Republicans are against it and they report the Democrats are against that. And one of the reasons that I wanna run to congress'. Talk congress I think is have an opportunity in some small way. To bring some accommodation between people and trying to get them to see the other side and and worked together to make things happen for the good of the country. -- I went to Lindy Boggs funeral and I remember hearing someone saying this is truly the end of an era. On that very were compromised her incredible of their ability to get people of very different. Thoughts to join hands and just settled down and and now Washington for the average Joseph like myself isn't completely dysfunction. And that anybody can create function again it is a question. Well I don't know how much I can do but I think I can do something and I really console myself by saying. Hell I can't make it any worse. Let me ask you -- -- wanna go back to Louisiana I'd just like your thoughts on some things that are very timely right now we got to. Legislative group in session. And -- there's a big push to dismantle. Of this lawsuit. That is -- trying to double. Is going to sue the oil and gas industry. For them to repair the damage they did to our wetlands which from my understanding was part of the deal UConn -- you get. Only gash you make profit the chance to fix what you messed up. Your thoughts on it well. Now started in the -- -- thirties when you -- long. And he is grew granted the first leased to Texaco and they. Did most of the martian drilling at the time. Much of that damage was done problem both for thirty years ago book isn't that time they started moving offshore. But my response to that is yes the damages there. Certainly though other factors. Which -- want going to. But to some extent the channeling and the operations of the of the oil companies in the marshy area have contributed to the erosion. My point is given that in the affected their lease is required them to repair the damage who's that did with Japan in the did not do. Then I think a proper forum is in the court's most -- a if it can be repaired beat who's responsible and seek to what extent. Now I don't know why anybody can argue against finding out I mean that's the point about litigation. Now. He may not agree with what is determined and -- integration but litigation but certainly. We need to know what we can do. If -- thing. Now we can couple that is senator Landrieu says. With the federal aid because this is not just Louisiana schools it's been America's -- Just like the coast of California and the cost of Florida New York. And there's a need for a federal involvement in in the repairs which all of us through the years have neglected. And my point is let's -- with a lawsuit let's find out who's responsible to what extent and what can be done to. The repair. You brought up something Mary Landrieu has spot for a long time and a lot of people have wondered about. And just reading recently. Up for instance. In other states interior states get up to 50% of the revenue. -- oil and gas and coal production. And they if they talked about Wyoming Wyoming got an incredible amount of money and it very specific -- They like two point one billion dollars they got almost a billion of that. We get pennies on the dollar if backed. And that has been a long time fight to say if we got more of the revenues that the other states already get. Then maybe we we wouldn't be fighting so hard for this wee -- to fix this state needs money that is true. People make them valid point that we got a great deal of revenue from the production. But another hand for every dollar we got the oil and gas companies got eight more because it's an eight to one ratio generally and on them on a matter of for a equity but haven't said that. We got the money put the production that was -- us as owners of the oil they got the money. On the production before because of their investment but only eight to one basis and that's that's beat back where. We you. We will pay except that for what we already -- there. They profit to about what that was taken from us and in the process apparently did some not well with some of the damage. Therefore I think in spite of the fact that they helped us without economy and it did apps -- added jobs and I accept that they also. In my opinion and I'm not passenger room because that's what the lawsuit should be about the brigades some of that responsibility. To repair and maintain. -- -- And I hear exactly what you're saying but but the issue of separating that from. Revenue. How much we should be getting why is it that Wyoming of these other states can get such a high percentage and we have not by the storm -- years back when -- That at the Fed the feds and the northeast and those who have been running the congress. Took the position that since Louisiana had been purchased. -- Jefferson with fifteen million dollars in American money. That it was not. It was not a stayed in the sense that other states where because they had bought us and airport that was it. They ammunition in the amount of revenue we should get from the production of water and gas -- and other things in the cold. In the course of years compromises LeMay. At one time that was a very serious compromise on the table. Which by the way and I'm not mean denigrating but was turned down by Leander Perez who at that -- I was -- strong political figure in Louisiana. He determined that we were in time the more and of course you right. But in his argument say we should get more we ended up getting less because the compromise -- in an awful it was lost. Now it is true that. Dollar for dollar we getting -- smaller share of the revenue than in curious state and that's an inequity. Stay with us everyone we're gonna continue talking to Edwin Edwards and his wife trainer but now let's go to the newsroom and Jim -- Look what we're talking or listening to governor Edwin Edwards. And you're talking about how handsome Garland. I loved that. Well it's true I always thought he uses modern nicely and as a man can be. Next to me. Anyway we're moving on from. Two other issues in Louisiana and -- and asking these because you have such a perspective. Certainly as one who has led the state for many many years and now as a person who lives here and sees. How it is change good bad and ugly and much of the good. But we still have a very high rate of poverty in the state I'm just wondering. What is it going to take to. To get that down. My only long range finances education. Because. The jobs at a coming on board not to the extent that they are require people with the education. That was a time when if you had a third grade education my -- father you can be a successful form of -- could use the new and a plow. But now -- third grader could not. Operate that sophisticated. Equipment and and met him machinery that in the former misuse and so he's just different the other thing is this. We're the fifth lowest taxed state in the nation. That's good for us but as a result of that we shortchange. -- educational systems and much of that has gone on in the last few years by the way. We shortchange our educational system and unlike most other states. We do not have the local support for us clues that other states have worked in Texas fences. Local schools of paid for by local taxes and therefore. People say while my taxes going to that's who they've taken great interest in it and seek to it that things -- done and and done properly because they feel like they're paying. For the education. Now we we depend so much on the federal government and the state government with the supporters -- People sometimes -- you will somebody else's pants on the got to worry about it. But I think education is is the only long range solution to it and it's gonna take I think generations -- for that to happen. One of the things that bothers me is the fact that how I came through the public school system. I had the same books and teachers that other people had. But so -- of my classmates didn't have any interest and and I think that because when I went home that night my third grade. Father and my seventh -- mother. Sat me down and said salt to that I did my homework and worked with me. They had an interest in my education I think some of the problems is the lack of parental concern. Back home when the child gets from school. I think many would agree with you on that and certainly there are a phenomenal parent but it. It's tough today and and kids have to have that help from parents it is and have to get that. To be instilled with a dream of you know education as much ticket someplace and that's. But it's just very sad to -- I mean we've. And you've lived your far longer than nine but I've lived here forty years. And I keep seeing a repeat of that we talk education which makes some great inroads in Arlington paerson -- Lucia but statewide. What we're still low and we're still. We're not emphasizing enough and we had major cuts major major in the last several years to higher end drove up. Draconian cuts yes are going -- so. Higher education and that's unfortunate. And it's gonna come back and as we've we've done many shows with the business leaders who were saying exactly what you're saying. There's going to be 40000 jobs that are gonna be very specialized. That we need manpower. And woman power. And are we gonna be ready. And the answer scary mean you people are wheels are in motion but it's still it's going to be a long ago today -- -- some change who -- not be. Well said we'll be right back stay with us. We are talking with and when Edwards and his wife Katrina. And just sort of picking his brain on his thoughts on what's happening in Louisiana. And what's happening in his life and I think a lot of people want to know more about your life. We've got to talk about I would like to know from trainer. You -- into a family of adult children at an average adult children and did you had two boys. And now you have this precious little one how is that blending going. Surprisingly well I know people probably won't believe that that we all get along grade and it seems normal to us -- recognize that other people don't see it that way -- Tim -- it feels normal and I think it. On you know to the rest sentiment as I know my children have just kind of except dated and and they end of the little name of course who could not on the line he -- her I love that she named you line. Eli Wallace Edwards so we'll have the same initials and. Petrino already has an -- shirt may need to be put governor. 2000 party three. -- no pressure on the job. A so. You did the reality show it was a life experience definitely it was a good life experience is a death experience. -- I I don't know that I would say good or bad at the time it was just what we were doing. Me it was a job. It was better than a lot of jobs that have had but not as bad as some -- Is that something you would want to do again and Al Al would do it possibly act include have to discuss that and make a decision together but it -- Put some. That conditions in the contract. Who went into this not really apparent because it wasn't represented just put it turned out to be and really we did and redo it and read it and we did things and it took a year and a half to. To film it. And actually could have been done and -- Up plan and cried all the way to the bank. Okay then that's sort of the bottom line up and she sank so it wasn't a death expect that the a -- experience. You have no time it seems that measure on the roll all the time but when there is just quiet time what do you'll do fine. We -- we take a lot of walks around the neighborhood we have a golf Carney Eli really loves to ride. And so we do that in. We human role in elections. And we mostly just hang out around the house. Why do you believe it or not I spent a lot of time helping other people had that problem. That's true. And so you have -- line as your mascot. Walking through the neighborhood what are the problems -- what Katrina said earlier was it was really very interesting now. That yesterday and I'm sure many other days you take care of the baby and I did all day yesterday changes that -- four times. And you're talking to him. Only Epson and in French and in English he's gonna grow up learning French and English at the same time just like idea. It's a Smart. That is so very very Smart on tonight you have to -- -- -- -- tonight friends of -- on Edwards invite you to a reception. And it's tonight five to 630 at the designated -- at the Lafayette hotel and I love this it's not a fund raiser says. No purchase come on nine and top of the line -- says donations will via pre appreciated. But it's not a Padres. OK but again that's at six to eight saint Charles avenue at the Latvia and tell. Does he think -- steakhouse so. Almost every day of the week you have something going just about. And not just during the day a lot of times we work all day and then in the evenings we have other -- at work and sometimes twelve hours today. -- -- -- Is it true you -- an -- now I was planning on Moscow between when we got married I just graduated with undergraduate to curry and then when we got married. I put it off. But eventually it'll lead to -- now it's a graduate in psychology and uses it on me every day. Give me something that's. We don't know about and Edwards that you liked people and now. At people have a certain perception of him. And they think that he's. I think they envision him as being in this really powerful. Guy and he has sat at the same time he's so kind and I don't I think that a lot of people miss out on that and he says in Israeli history that he does spend a lot of his days. Helping other people even making phone calls for people -- say you wouldn't get someone else to do if you tried to called. A lot of people you you're lucky to get him on the phone that he really does spend his day. Doing things for other people I've never heard him say no to anyone if it was. If there was any possibility that he can do it and he works very hard at that and now I'm really is one of the things that may mile from -- attached. Are you -- still having -- poker games. No. It's just that shows saying I don't think he actually did that well before me maybe. When you contended it was it was a setup bachus who all wars in there and nobody goes up president poker -- explicit written the -- I just -- I have to I'm laughing but I'm. We get the most incredible quotes that this man has -- descent and -- in need to put the book together and when quotes. And we've heard them before but it still is very very funny. With -- trained you know nice man sorry decent we flew. Ver -- good friends and have a high regard form and and just. On his memory he wrote a very very wonderful. Paul Wood to the book. And you'll wrote and this to me in prison on the number of occasions and it couldn't have been a nice of friends. But you -- of him one time in the campaign. Dave train is so slow it takes an hour and a -- to watch sixty minutes not that you think ahead of or it just came off the top of -- I couldn't honestly tell you all right and I do know that. But from time to time things hit me just like that in the course of a conversation -- situation. And sometimes I regret saying things focus sometime get a little bit out of line. And I regretted but I have this. This capacity about me to react immediately and not stop to think I let my -- local mine portal mob Britain so -- -- -- And although he took that and in good down. In good spirit and the management more times tone of his Sharon mentioned it at his funeral home for happened. And but nevertheless. We -- we got to be such good friends after it was an -- a regretted having said. Well wasn't he among those wanting to get a pardon for you -- -- he was on -- leading the effort and and had. According to him and I believe him commitments some high ranking Republican pitch Tuesday aged men in the effort. And for a long time I was absent from the convinced that he was going to be successful but he just didn't happen. Stay with this as we continue our talk with and -- to run activists. I wanna thank -- Edwin and train at Edwards very much for spending the hour with this a final thought from the good governor good to. It with you again -- go back many years I'm proud -- print ship and always happy to help people that you and friends. And I told train at one time the next to her use the best in and you can look at it let's end on that note thank you very very much. On now let's go to the newsroom.