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July 13th, 2011
Ol' Edwin Out and About in Baton Rouge

If eight years in federal prison dulled Edwin Edwards' trademark wit or energy, it wasn't apparent Tuesday night, when Louisiana's four-term former governor made his first formal public appearance since being released from home incarceration this month.

The occasion was an awards dinner by the Foundation for Historical Louisiana, where Edwards' biographer, Leo Honeycutt, and several other worthy recipients were being honored for their work in historic preservation.

But it was clear from the start who was the star of the show.

Edwards posed for pictures, told off-color jokes and greeted a stream of well-wishers at the Hilton Capital Center, a hotel he once owned when it was called the Capitol House.

After a decade away from the scene, Edwards still remembered details about people and their families. If there were hard feelings left from the racketeering conviction that sent him to prison, they were nowhere to be seen as he received two standing ovations.

"I really feel like I came out of prison more popular than I went in," Edwards said. "I think in some part because people realize that an injustice occurred and that I handled it like a man. I took it. I survived. I said that I would walk out, and I did."

At Edwards' side was Trina Grimes Scott, the 32-year-old Alexandria woman who befriended him in prison and is now his soon-to-be wife. Nearby was Shaun Sanghani, the Louisiana-born TV producer who is in discussions with Edwards about starting a new reality show. 



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