Former Gov. Edwin Edwards may not be out of federal prison yet — he's scheduled to be remanded to a halfway house this month after years in the Oakdale Federal Correctional Center — but he's already got one gig lined up: grand marshal of the annual International Rice Festival in Crowley, La.
It's actually a return engagement. Edwards, a member of the Crowley City Council in the 1950s and 1960s, was grand marshal in 1959. Festival co-chairman Glynn Manard told KATC-TV, "We think we owe it to him for all the things he did for the town of Crowley and the rice industry and Acadia Parish."
Edwards was convicted of bribery, racketeering, mail fraud and related RICO Act violations in 2000 after a four-month federal trial. He reported to prison in 2002 to begin serving a 10-year sentence. The former governor will have to serve six months in a halfway house before being released for good — a timeline that would make him a free man some time in July, three months before the rice festival begins.
Anna Edwards, the governor's eldest daughter and a frequent visitor during his incarceration, issued a statement Jan. 3 saying her father would not be speaking to the media during his stay at the halfway house. In 2010, Anna Edwards told the newspaper Houma Today that one of her father's pleasures behind bars was watching the New Orleans Saints advance through the playoffs. — Kevin Allman