The world almost never got to hear former Gov. Edwin Edwards' most famous quip: "Only way I lose is if I'm caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy." So said the man who first reported it — Dean Baquet, the Treme native who began his newspaper career at the New Orleans States-Item and The Times-Picayune and worked his way up to the editorship of The New York Times in 2014.
Baquet was the speaker at the 6th annual Ed Renwick Lecture Series at Loyola University last week, and he described Edwards telling him that on a campaign bus when no other reporters were present. In those days before cellphones were ubiquitous, "you couldn't tweet it, you couldn't text it," Baquet said. When the bus stopped, he rushed to a pay phone and "called in what I thought was the coolest, most politically incorrect quote of all time." But the copy desk removed it; the quip was too "tasteless" for The Times-Picayune. It took three days before it finally appeared in the paper, Baquet said.
Baquet also discussed another close-to-home subject: covering the Brilab racketeering trial of mob boss Carlos Marcello, who in some conspiratorial circles is mentioned in connection with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. "Anyone who tells you Carlos Marcello plotted the Kennedy assassination is a moron," Baquet said. "He mainly planned lunches and dinners and he griped he couldn't get a table at Mosca's. What I learned was that the boss of all bosses was a Yat." — KEVIN ALLMAN