New residents move to Ascension Parish every day. Men, women, the young and the old, come into the parish and claim it as their own. There’s nothing new about this, as Ascension is a parish on the rise. However, every so often, a new family comes into the area that brings with them a sense of celebrity. Now is that time. The family has moved in, they’re settled, and they’re here to stay. So get ready to meet the Edwards clan.
New residents move to Ascension Parish every day. Men, women, the young and the old, come into the parish and claim it as their own.
There’s nothing new about this, as Ascension is a parish on the rise. However, every so often, a new family comes into the area that brings with them a sense of celebrity.
Now is that time. The family has moved in, they’re settled, and they’re here to stay. So get ready to meet the Edwards clan.
Former Gov. Edwin Edwards sits at the helm, with his wife, Trina, by his side. Along with them comes Trina’s two sons, Logan and Trevor. They have made a home for themselves in the Pelican Point area of the parish, and are enjoying being a part of the Ascension community.
“We moved here because it’s a wonderful community,” said Edwards. “This area has all of the advantages of a big city, with none of the disadvantages. It’s close to the interstate, and has wonderful schools, shopping, banking and religious opportunities for everyone.”
The Edwards family moved in a little over two months ago, and since that time, they have done a fair amount of traveling, as Edwards promotes his authorized biography, “Edwin Edwards: Governor of Louisiana,” by Leo Honeycutt.
Now that school is in session, though, the family is fitting in with the general day-to-day life of the average Ascension Parish family.
“The boys are both students at St. Amant Middle and East Ascension High School, and are loving it,” said Edwards.
“We’re excited about it,” said Trina Edwards. “They’ve settled in well, and are really enjoying their schools.”
When Edwards and his newly acquired family were looking for a new home, the options were, of course, endless. With Trina’s familiarity with both Baton Rouge and Alexandria, and the former governor’s association with nearly every inch of Louisiana, they could have had their pick of places. So why Ascension Parish?
“I honestly know of no other area that is better served by their public officials,” said Edwards. “The longevity of the people who serve this community is a testament to how much they care.” He added, “Oh, and they’ve got a pretty great local newspaper!”
When entering the Edwards’ house, it is easy to see that they are a family that is here to stay. The house has been turned into a home, and intimate, personal touches abound. Photographs adorn the walls and bookcases, and the home instantly springs forth a strong sense of family activity.
“The parish is now our home,” said Trina Edwards. “We’re happy to be here. We’re settled here.”
“I became aware of Pelican Point when it first got its genesis,” said Edwards. “I was around when everyone thought Mr. Diez was a fool for using his time and his money to build this community. Well, time has proven him right, and I’m glad about that. It’s a wonderful place to call home, with lots of amenities and facilities for all ages.”
The former governor was shocked when he first returned to see the new, progressive Ascension Parish. He was pleasantly surprised by the multitude of improvements, additions and people.
“Unlike most growing areas in the state, and even the rest of the country, Ascension Parish has kept up with their public services, amenities and facilities,” he said. “Officials should be proud of what this parish has accomplished, and continues to accomplish.”
Although Edwards’ stretch as a politician and official himself has come to an end, it is clear he holds a strong sense of pride for his time as a public servant.
“I run into people who remember me. They remember things I did for them,” he said. “I think the hallmark of my career, or the reason I was successful is that people knew I cared. They could find me when they needed me. I had a well-deserved reputation of always returning phone calls, and that’s important. The fact that people still aren’t afraid to approach me is a good sign.”
Edwards worries that those times of face-to-face service to constituents may be a thing of the past in most places, but doesn’t feel that’s the case in Ascension.
“Residents of any community need to feel they can contact those meant to serve them. I worry that the average citizen may be thinking in terms of what can they do, or where can they go. I think here, people are approachable.”
Edwards’ career spanned many years, and he has vivid memories of monumental moments.
“One highlight was when I introduced John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline at the Crowley Rice Festival in 1959. Jacqueline even addressed the people there in French.”
One funny anecdote he tells is of a time he first spoke to then President Lyndon B. Johnson:
“A special election was called for a Congressman when our area’s died in 1965,” he said. “The year before had been a huge election where Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater for the presidency. I went head to head with Gary Tyler, who had been the campaign manager for Goldwater. I was a Johnson supporter. Well, I won, and the president called me. When the call was put through, and I heard his voice on the line, I stood up to speak with him. I was alone in my office, but I stood up to speak to the president. He then went on to tell me he was glad I’d won because if I hadn’t he would have been embarrassed. People were viewing the race as a rerun of the presidential one.”
Edwards speaks fondly of his time in Congress, and worries that those times, as well, are long gone. His fear is that the politicians who speak for our nation today are forgetting the core values of service.
“I’m fearful for my county,” he said. “I thank God that I’m now 84 years old and won’t live to see the disaster I know is coming. There’s too much infighting, and Democrats and Republicans can’t seem to work together. We used to get things done because people needed them done. People needed water or sewer, and we did it because they needed it. I don’t see that happening anymore. Everyone is always fighting.”
Edwards is still the passionate man he’s always been famous for. He loves talking politics. He loves his family. He is happy to be able to take part in the everyday things, and looks forward to his life here in Ascension.
“We just got here two months ago, and I haven’t even had the chance to play golf yet,” he said. “I want to be a part of this community. I want to stay active and participate. I want to make a contribution. I’ve had a wonderful, productive, exciting life,” he said. “Some of the things that have happened in it have been deserved, and some undeserved. Now, though, I’m just happy to be here in Ascension Parish.”
For video footage and more photos of the interview with Edwards, visit www.weeklycitizen.com.