Elaine Edwards

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Elaine Edwards
Elaine Edwards (D-LA).jpg
First Lady of Louisiana
In role
March 12, 1984 – March 14, 1988
Preceded byDolores Treen
Succeeded byPatti Crocker Roemer
In role
May 9, 1972 – March 10, 1980
Preceded byMarjorie McKeithen
Succeeded byDolores Treen
United States Senator
from Louisiana
In office
August 1, 1972 – November 13, 1972
Appointed byEdwin Edwards
Preceded byAllen J. Ellender
Succeeded byJ. Bennett Johnston
Personal details
Born
Elaine Lucille Schwartzenburg

(1929-03-08)March 8, 1929
Marksville, Louisiana, U.S.
DiedMay 14, 2018(2018-05-14) (aged 89)
Denham Springs, Louisiana, U.S.
Resting placeResthaven Gardens of Memory and Mausoleum
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)
Edwin Edwards
(m. 1949; div. 1989)
Children4

Elaine Lucille Edwards (née Schwartzenburg; March 8, 1929 – May 14, 2018) was an American politician from Louisiana. Edwards was a Democratic member of the United States Senate in 1972 appointed by her husband, Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards, following the death of Allen Ellender. She was the First Lady of Louisiana for twelve non-consecutive years from 1972 to 1980 and again from 1984 to 1988, making her the state's longest-serving First Lady. In her later years, she was a small fashion businesswoman and a low-profile soap opera actress based in New York City.

Early life[edit]

Edwards was born in Marksville, the seat of Avoyelles Parish, to Errol Leo Schwartzenburg[1] and Myrl Dupuy Schwartzenburg[2][3][4] Elaine was baptized Catholic,[5][6][7] and had two brothers, Frank (1928–2013),[8] and Ralph (born 1936).[9]

She married Edwin Edwards in 1949.[10] Her own Catholic belief was the impetus for Edwin's reversion to the Catholic faith.[5][6] An observer noted that Elaine Edwards "wanted the opposite of what Edwin wanted. She hated the fishbowl of politics."[11] Both graduated from Marksville High School.[12] Discussing her marriage in 1984, Edwards said: "All I wanted to do was get married and have babies and keep house."[12]

Senate career[edit]

Prior to her senate career, Edwards was the First Lady of Louisiana for twelve non-consecutive years from 1972 to 1980 and again from 1984 to 1988, making her the state's longest-serving First Lady. She did not live full-time at the Governor's mansion during her husband's third term, instead spending most of her time at the family's compound in southeastern Baton Rouge which they purchased during the term of Edwin's successor/predecessor, David C. Treen.[13]

On August 1, 1972, after the death of Allen Ellender, Edwin Edwards appointed Elaine to the U.S. Senate to serve the remaining few months of Ellender's term.[14]

In reaction to her Senate appointment, Edwards said: "This is a marvelous opportunity, and I accept it. But let's have no misgivings. I’m not a United States senator". Edwards did not seek re-election.[12] She resigned immediately upon certification of J. Bennett Johnston (whom her husband had defeated in the Democratic primary in the previous year's election for Governor) as the winner of the November 7, 1972 general election (in which Ellender had been a candidate until his death), allowing Johnston to gain seniority over other new senators elected on the same date.

During the 1976 presidential election campaign, Elaine endorsed Gerald Ford[15] over Jimmy Carter, while her husband first endorsed California governor Jerry Brown,[16] and later endorsed Carter after Brown failed to obtain the nomination.[17][18]

In 1983, Edwin Edwards was re-elected as Governor thus making Elaine first lady again this time serving until 1988.[12]

Post-political career[edit]

After her senate tenure, Edwards owned a small business producing custom-made dresses and would continue this business even while serving as first lady during her husband’s third term in the 1980s.[12]

She moved to New York City in the 1990s to find occasional work as a soap opera actress.[12]

Personal life and death[edit]

Edwin and Elaine Edwards divorced in 1989 after forty years of marriage.[19] The couple had four children, two daughters and two sons.[20]

Elaine Edwards died on May 14, 2018, at her daughter's home in Denham Springs, Louisiana, while suffering from respiratory problems.[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Alexandria Daily Town Talk, July 17, 1999". USGenWarchives.net. July 17, 1999. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
  2. ^ "Google News Search Myrl Schwartzenburg Elaine". Google. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
  3. ^ "Google News Search Myrl Schwartzenburg". Google. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
  4. ^ Matthew Andrew Wasniewski, United States Congress House Committee on House Administration, United States Congress House Office of History and Preservation (2006). Women in Congress, 1917-2006. Government Printing Office. pp. 467–69. ISBN 978-0-16-076753-1. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Hugh A. Mulligan. "Good times sour for La.'s Edwards (continued from page 1, on to page 8A as "La.'s tough times tough on Edwards")". Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Edwin Edwards Timeline". kplctv.com. KPLC 7 News. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  7. ^ Coozan Dudley LeBlanc: from Huey Long to Hadacol. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  8. ^ "Frank Charles Schwartzenburg, Sr., age 84 of Marshalltown, Iowa, native of Marksville". Avoyellestoday.com. January 31, 2013. Archived from the original on June 28, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  9. ^ Philip Timothy (March 16, 2007). "Ex-governor tops list of colorful parish politicians". thetowntalk.com. Archived from the original on September 15, 2012. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  10. ^ Matthew Andrew Wasniewski, United States Congress House Committee on House Administration, United States Congress House Office of History and Preservation (2006). Women in Congress, 1917-2006. Government Printing Office. pp. 467–69. ISBN 978-0-16-076753-1. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
  11. ^ Leo Honeycutt, Edwin Edwards: Governor of Louisiana, Lisburn Press, 2009, pg. 82
  12. ^ a b c d e f "Former Louisiana first lady Elaine Edwards dies; Edwin Edwards: 'She was a great asset'". The Advocate. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  13. ^ "Former LA first lady Elaine Edwards dead at 89". WBRZ. May 14, 2018. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  14. ^ a b Elaine Edwards. Louisiana former first lady, dies at 89, nola.com; accessed May 14, 2018.
  15. ^ Gerald R. Ford (1977). Public papers of the Presidents of the United States, Gerald R. Ford. Government Printing Office. pp. 2324–25.
  16. ^ "Carter nomination seems assured; more Dems climb on bandwagon". Eugene Register-Guard. June 10, 1976. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
  17. ^ "Conservatism balances regional pride in South". The Sun. October 18, 1976. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
  18. ^ "Google News Archive search edwards endorse carter ford". Retrieved September 9, 2011.
  19. ^ Matthew Andrew Wasniewski, United States Congress House Committee on House Administration, United States Congress House Office of History and Preservation (2006). Women in Congress, 1917-2006. Government Printing Office. pp. 467–69. ISBN 978-0-16-076753-1. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
  20. ^ The Biographical encyclopedia of the United States, Volume 2. Allied Publishers. 1968. p. 370. Retrieved September 9, 2011.

External links[edit]

U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Allen J. Ellender
United States Senator (Class 3) from Louisiana
1972
Served alongside: Russell B. Long
Succeeded by
J. Bennett Johnston