Former Gov. Edwin Edwards promoted his biography Saturday and revealed details about a new book he’s writing.
The book will be “mostly about the trial,” said Edwards, referring to his prosecution on racketeering charges involving riverboat casino licenses that sent him to federal prison.
“Most of it will be verbatim excerpts from the trial,” said Edwards, adding that it should be ready in a year. “I want the people to know to what lengths the prosecution can go to convict people.”
Edwards fielded questions about his plans for a book sequel many times from some of the hundreds of people getting the four-term governor’s autograph during the first in a series of book-signing events.
“There’s going to be another book, right?” asked Clari Cassels at the Barnes & Noble Booksellers event.
“When are you going to write that Edwards book?” inquired Gracie Dias.
She arrived about five hours early for the scheduled 2 p.m. event.
One of those in line was Victor Durand, the juror who was dismissed during deliberations in Edwards’ trial involving riverboat casino licenses.
Edwards was convicted and sentenced to a 10-year term in federal prison. He was released from custody earlier this month.
Durand identified himself to Edwards as Juror 68.
Asked later if he had recognized Durand, Edwards said, “I met him in the courthouse but we didn’t get to talk.”
The line of autograph seekers snaked up and down aisles of the bookstore at CitiPlace Court. People carried up to five books to the table where Edwards sat. They sought a personalized message written inside the book, “Edwin Edwards, Governor of Louisiana, An Authorized Biography,” by Leo Honeycutt.
Women made up about two-thirds of the crowd.
“He’s such a charming man. He has done a lot of good for people,” said Mary Kay Bertaut, a retired state employee.
Bertaut; her sister, Carolyn Albright; along with Jennifer Benoit and Dias were among about two dozen women camped outside waiting for the store to open at 9 a.m.
“We were thinking we needed to,” said Benoit. “We are glad he’s out. We wanted to meet him in person.”
Employees opened the doors a little early so the autograph seekers could start getting the wristbands needed for access.
Store community relations manager Abby Hannie said about 500 wristbands were distributed. People had to show a receipt that the book was purchased at Barnes & Noble.
Dias said she knew Edwards when she was a little girl because the late U.S. Sen. Russell Long was a friend of her family. She reminisced with Edwards about those days, recalling, “I said, ‘I’ll marry a coonass just like you,’ and that’s what I did.”
As Edwards signed books, autograph seekers paused to take pictures with and of the governor and his fiancée, Trina Grimes Scott, who sat on one side of him while Honeycutt sat on the other.
Peter Businelle brought some old photographs showing Edwards in Morgan City for a courthouse groundbreaking and another visit by Edwards during the flood of 1973. He asked Edwards to sign one of them and was obliged.
Dr. Cheryl Taylor of the Southern University School of Nursing thanked Edwards for his role in opening the school 25 years ago. “This is one of the great things you are responsible for,” Taylor said.
One woman recalled shooting pool with Edwards years ago and not knowing who he was.
Another woman asked if he remembered her sister-in-law, Carla Swacker. Swacker served in Edwards’ press office at one time.
“You tell her hello for me,” said Edwards.
Sara Lemon told Edwards she met him at a ceremony where the governor was being honored by the National Conference of Christians and Jews, but didn’t think he would remember.
“I told you Sarah is a Biblical name meaning princess,” replied Edwards.
Another book signing is at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Barnes & Noble Booksellers at Perkins Rowe.