CROWLEY, La. (KLFY) — Governor Edwin Edwards is the first and only citizen of Acadia Parish to reach Louisiana’s top office.
Although not born in Crowley, he chose the spot to launch his career.
There are no more Edwards still working at the Edwards, Stefanski, & Zaunbrecher Law Firm on Crowley’s courthouse square, but it still carries his name. It’s because Edwin Edwards built it before he started any political career.
“When you talk about why is Edwin Edwards synonymous with Crowley, it is because this is where he built everything,” stated State Representative for District 42 John Stefanski works inside the firm.
At 21 years old, Edwin Edwards moved to Crowley and built his law firm. Eventually, the Acadia Parish capital would become the home of his parents, his sister, and both brothers. After about half a decade building his business, Edwin Edwards won his first public seat on the Crowley City Council.
“He was impressed with the city, the economy, the people here,” remembered fellow attorney and longtime friend Stephen Stefanski. “He knew how to govern, and he knew what government needs to do to help people.”
Ten years after joining Crowley’s government, Edwin Edwards represented the people of Acadia Parish in the Louisiana State Senate, and one year later in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“And that’s when I came to work with him, 1966,” said Stephen Stefanski whose name follows Edwards at the law firm. Stefanski started as an intern and chauffeur for Edwards but eventually became one of his closest friends in Crowley today.
When Edwin’s brother, Nolan, was killed inside the law office, Stephen inherited it, but he still sees the space as Edwin Edwards’s, and he let him know on his death bed Sunday.
“I said, ‘You’ll always be with us. Your law firm is there. The building that you built, we’re there. We’re running the law firm. We’ve got your name, and we’re going to do all the things that you taught us to do, and I know that he heard me because I could see his eyes blink,” Stefanski recalled.
And when current State Rep for Crowley, John Stefanski, took office it was Edwards who showed him Baton Rouge and became a friend.
“When I travel the state, there’s two things I talk about being from Crowley, rice and Edwin Edwards,” John Stefanski said. “He’s going to be remembered in Crowley for a very long time, probably forever as long as Crowley’s around.”
The Edwards, Stefanski, & Zaunbrecher Law Firm plans to keep the Edwards name there forever.
Stephen Stefanski said, “I’ll never get rid of the Edwards name because my memories of him and his brother Nolan, and all I learned from them and all that I did working with them, you perpetuate that.”
John added, “He’s the only four-time governor ever. I don’t know if that will ever be duplicated again in Louisiana, so I mean why when you talk about why is Edwin Edwards synonymous with Crowley, it is because this is where he built everything. He built everything here. He started with humble roots here and built probably one of the most famous political careers in Louisiana’s history.”