James Clyde Vidrine (1938–December 16, 1986) was a bodyguard for four-term Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards. He became famous for making accusations about the governor's elaborate Las Vegas trips and alleged infidelity to Edwards' wife Elaine Edwards. Vidrine, who had already been fired by Edwards, was murdered during Edwards' third term as governor.
Vidrine was shot and killed in broad daylight on the steps of the then Federal court house in downtown Shreveport on December 16, 1986. At the time Vidrine was serving as bodyguard for a woman who had recently separated from her husband, James Cummings. Cummings believed Vidrine and his wife were having an adulterous affair. Cummings stated that only he (James Cummings) was at the Federal Court House (not the Parish Court House) because of a bankruptcy hearing where he and his estranged wife were to appear. Cummings stated that Vidrine had threatened him in the past and had reached for a gun when Cummings shot him. A report, that he was waiting across the street in his car for his wife and Vidrine to arrive, contradicted James Cummings' version of what happened. When Clyde Vidrine and Kathy Cummings arrived, James Cummings opened fire three times with a 12-gauge shotgun, killing Clyde Vidrine but leaving Kathy Cummings untouched.
This writer, then a Federal special agent, observed James Cummings and his estranged wife arguing loudly outside the Shreveport bankruptcy court on the morning of December 16. This writer commented to two US DOJ Anti Trust attorney's at the time that there was "going to be a killing" out there, referring to the loud argument. The Attorney's from the Dallas Division ATR office acknowledged having heard the commotion. Later that morning, after the bankruptcy hearing, James Cummings left the Federal Court House ahead of Vidrine and Cummings' estranged wife, crossed the street, and retrieved a 12 gauge shot gun from his vehicle in the presence of his young teenage son. Cummings fired the 12 gauge shot gun 3 times at Vidrine and dropped him on the steps of the court house. A deputy U.S. Marshal returning from lunch apprehended Cummings there and then. With only the morbid sense of humor shared by law enforcement agents, this writer opined that Cummings only had 3 rounds in the shotgun because it was plugged for bird season. Prior to his death that day, Virdrine was informally interviewed in the court house lobby by the ATR attorneys as they were investigating highway bid rigging at the time, and were invited to visit Vidrine at a future date at his home in Lafayette. Clearly that meeting never took place.
- "Just takin' orders: A southern governor's watergate". Amazon.com. 1977. ASIN B0006CZEYY. Retrieved 2013-09-19.
- United Press International (1986-12-17). "Gov. Edwards' former bodyguard is killed: Friend's husband held". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-09-19.
- Associated Press (1986-12-17). "Governor's ex-guard killed outside court". Google News. Retrieved 2013-09-19.
4. Personal recollection of Special Agent D.J. Truxal.