Edwards: ‘Things are good’ in SW La.

By By Natalie Stewart / American Press

A crowd of more than 500 people roared with applause and greeted former Gov. Edwin Edwards with a standing ovation as he stepped

to the microphone to speak Thursday night at the 63rd annual West Calcasieu Association of Commerce Banquet.

Edwards shared stories of his childhood, time in politics and his thoughts about federal and local government today — adding

that Calcasieu Parish and Southwest Louisiana are “doing something right.”

“I’m proud to say this area, this

parish, this part of Louisiana has been in my corner by huge majorities

and I never forgot

that,” he said. “I want to congratulate the local representatives

and senators, mayor and council members, police jurors;

you’re doing something right because things are good here, and

they’re going to get better. It’s coming and I’m very proud;

this area is going to make a big difference in the economy.”

Edwards also spoke about the Keystone Pipeline, saying “one thing about our president I don’t understand is why he wouldn’t approve

it.”

The pipeline would transport synthetic crude oil from Canada to multiple destinations in the United States, including refineries

along the Gulf Coast.

“There are jobs waiting,” he said. “They’re worried about the construction and safety. Let me take a bunch of Louisiana contractors and a couple thousand Cajun workers. I guarantee a year from now the line would be

built better and operating.”

Edwards said “there’s no notable problem” to keep from building the pipeline.

“For over 60 years we have been

drilling in the local waters of the Gulf,” he said. “There was one bad

spill, of course it

was bad. It was a combination of human error and God knows what,

but that’s no reason to shut down the development. You find

out what happened and keep it from happening again.”

Edwards said the country needs the oil production and the state would benefit with employment opportunities.

He also talked about his time in federal prison and how the people of Louisiana were forgiving following his release.

I sat in a prison cell for 812

years and I wondered what it would be like when I got out,” he said.

“How would people treat me, what would they think of

me. I have been to at least 40 cities since being able to travel.

The attitude of forgiveness, the understanding and compassion

shown to me is something I will never, never forget.”