Elaine Edwards

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Elaine Lucille
Schwartzenburg Edwards

In office
August 1, 1972 – November 13, 1972
Preceded by Allen J. Ellender
Succeeded by J. Bennett Johnston, Jr.

First Lady of Louisiana
In office
May 9, 1972 – March 10, 1980
Preceded by Marjorie Funderburk McKeithen
Succeeded by Dolores Brisbi Treen
In office
March 12, 1984 – March 14, 1988
Preceded by Dolores Treen
Succeeded by Patti Crocker Roemer

Born March 8, 1929
Marksville, Avoyelles Parish
Died May 14, 2018 (aged 89)
Denham Springs

Livingston Parish

Resting place Resthaven Gardens Cemetery in Baton Rouge
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Edwin Edwards (married 1949-1989, divorced)
Children Anna, Victoria, Stephen, and David Edwards
Religion Roman Catholic

Elaine Lucille Schwartzenburg Edwards (March 8, 1929 – May 14, 2018) was a Democrat who served in 1972 as an interim United States Senator for her native Louisiana. She was appointed to the vacancy created by the death of Allen J. Ellender by her then husband, Governor Edwin Edwards. She was the longest serving First Lady of Louisiana for twelve non-consecutive years from 1972 to 1980 and again from 1984 to 1988. An excellent seamstress,[1] in her later years, she was a small fashion businesswoman and a soap opera actress in New York City.

Originally from Marksville in Avoyelles Parish in south central Louisiana, Mrs. Edwards was a daughter of Errol Leo Schwartzenburg (1909-1999) and the former Myrl Dupuy (1907-2001).[2] She had two brothers, Frank Charles Schwartzenberg (1928-2013), who relocated to Marshalltown, Iowa, and a younger sibling, Ralph Schwatzenberg (born 1936).[1]

Edwin Edwards named Elaine to the Senate on August 1, 1972. She served only until the November general election,[1] which was handily won in a multi-candidate field by the Democrat former state Senator J. Bennett Johnston, Jr., of Shreveport, who coincidentally had been her husband's 1971 intra-party gubernatorial opponent. Johnston held the seat until his retirement after four terms on January 3, 1997, when Mary Landrieu succeeded him.

During the 1976 presidential election, Mrs. Edwards surprised observers by endorsing Republican nominee, Gerald Ford, for a full term of his own.[3] She by-passed her fellow Democrat, Jimmy Carter of Georgia, while her husband first endorsed California's leftist Governor Jerry Brown, but later backed Carter when Brown failed to obtain the nomination. During her last term as First Lady and thereafter, Mrs. Edwards owned a small business which made custom-made dresses. In the 1990s, she moved to New York City in the 1990s to find occasional work as a soap opera actress.

Edwin and Elaine Edwards had four children together, Anna, Victoria, Stephen, and David.[1] She died at the age of eighty-nine at a daughter's home in Denham Springs near Baton Rouge.[4]in

Memorial services were to be held on May 21 at Resthaven Gardens Cemetery in Baton Rouge.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Elaine Schwartzenburg Edwards. The Baton Rouge Advocate (May 19, 2018). Retrieved on May 20, 2018.
  2. Errol Leo Schwartzenburg. FindAGrave (January 6, 2012). Retrieved on May 15, 2018.
  3. Gerald R. Ford (1977). Public papers of the Presidents of the United States, Gerald R. Ford. Government Printing Office, 2324–25. 
  4. Tyler Bridges (May 14, 2018). Former Louisiana first lady Elaine Edwards dies: Edwin Edwards: 'She was a great asset'. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on May 15, 2018.