Former Gov. Edwin W. Edwards was hospitalized Tuesday morning but was doing well and cracking jokes by evening.

The 92-year-old, four-term governor was unresponsive and taken by ambulance to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge before lunchtime.


Update: Edwin Edwards feeling better, to be released today after being hospitalized yesterday


He was given an IV and was described at the hospital as lucid while doctors checked his heart. Later in the afternoon, Edwards' blood sugar dropped again, leaving Lake medical staff trying to figure out why. Edwards was expected to spend the night in the hospital.

Dr. Joseph Deumite, a Baton Rouge cardiologist, had been called in to look at the former governor. Edwards had a heart bypass surgery in 1996.

"He’s doing well," his wife, Trina Grimes Edwards, said Tuesday.

He maintained high spirits, delivered one-liners and joked with nurses throughout the afternoon. "I'm bugging him to tell me where the Deduct Box is," said Leo Honeycutt, Edwards official biographer, joking about the legendary — and famously lost — strong box in which Huey Long was said to have kept cash kickbacks.

A Democrat, Edwards dominated Louisiana politics for more than a generation, serving as governor from 1972 to 1980, 1984 to 1988 and 1992 to 1996.

He went to prison in 2002 following a May 2000 conviction for racketeering involving riverboat casino licenses. He was released in 2011.

He won a spot in the 2014 runoff for the Baton Rouge-based 6th District seat in the U.S. Congress but lost to Republican Garret Graves.

Edwards attended the funeral of former Gov. Kathleen Blanco two weeks ago and spoke at the May 31 retirement of state Senate President John Alario.

Mark Ballard and Tyler Bridges of The Advocate contributed to this report.

Email Mark Ballard at mballard@theadvocate.com.