Donna Hutto Edwards is the first lady of the state of Louisiana. She was born to a loving mother and hardworking father in Meridian, Mississippi. As a child, their family moved around due to her father’s job with International Paper Co. Their family moved to Amite, LA when Donna was in middle school and it was then that she met her future husband John Bel Edwards.
High school sweethearts, Donna and John Bel went to high school together at Amite High School. John Bel went on to graduate from the United State Military Academy at West Point and Donna graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration.
Upon John Bel’s graduation from West Point and Ranger School, the two married in 1989. They will be celebrating their 27th anniversary this year and have three children—Samantha, Sarah Ellen, and John Miller and now a son-in-law, Jonathan Ricau. Donna and John Bel are a team and work together as such. Together, they are committed to serving the state of Louisiana just as they served their country.
John Bel was active duty as an Army Infantry Airborne Ranger and during that time they served eight years as a military family. Donna volunteered regularly with the wives group that supported the families of those serving in the Army. Her service focused on supporting families during the spouse’s deployment.
While raising children and being active in their community organizations, school and church groups, Donna decided to become a certified teacher. She taught for eight and a half years as a music teacher in public schools, in the same school system where she and John Bel both graduated. As the First Lady, donna has reestablished The Governor’s mansion Preservation Foundation. She is involved in many initiatives including foster care, human trafficking, Keep Louisiana Beautiful, and recycling. She will continue to be a strong advocate for teachers, public education, and music and arts education in Louisiana.