BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Elaine Schwartzenburg Edwards, a former first lady of Louisiana, passed away Monday, May 14 in hospice care after a long illness, her family said. She was 89.
Family members said she died at the home of her daughter, Victoria Edwards, in Denham Springs, around 11 a.m. They added she died of respiratory problems.
Edwards was the first wife of former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards. She has the distinction of being the state's longest-serving first lady with terms from 1972 to 1980 and 1984 to 1988.
The former governor released a statement on the passing of his ex-wife. It reads:
In 1972, Edwards was appointed to the US Senate by her husband after the death of Allen Ellender. She only served three months before resigning after J. Bennett Johnston was elected.
Stephen Edwards said his mother wanted the people of Louisiana to know how grateful she was for their love and support over the years. He said his mother was the true matriarch of the family and dedicated her life to public service and philanthropy. She'd been living in Baton Rouge since retirement.
Statement from Stephen Edwards:
A memorial service will be held from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. on Monday, May 21 at Resthaven Gardens Cemetery at 11817 Jefferson Highway in Baton Rouge. Charitable donations may be made to Children's Hospital of New Orleans, the Humane Society, or the charity of your choice.
Elaine and Edwin Edwards were childhood sweethearts growing up in Marksville. The pair married in 1949 and divorced 40 years later in 1989. Her son said she and the former governor remained in occasional contact.