FILE - In this March 19, 2000, file photo, Louisiana Gov. Mike Foster addresses a joint session of the Legislature at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge, La. Foster, a folksy millionaire businessman who pushed major changes in education policy and lawsuit rules through an increasingly conservative state Legislature in the 1990s, died Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. He was 90. Marsanne Goolsby, who was Foster’s press secretary when he was governor, said that Foster died at his home in Franklin. (AP Photo/Bill Haber, File)
View All (3)

FRANKLIN, La. (AP) — Mike Foster, Louisiana's popular two-term former governor, was buried Wednesday with military honors in a modest set of hometown ceremonies in keeping with his no-frills attitude when in office.

Foster died Sunday at his home in coastal St. Mary Parish from age-related illnesses. He was 90 years old.

The folksy millionaire businessman known for his love of hunting and fishing served as Louisiana governor from 1996 until 2004, switching his party registration to Republican to run for governor after eight years as a Democratic state senator. His grandfather had been governor in the late 19th century.

Foster championed many of the state’s major education policy changes of the last few decades, including the creation of the TOPS college tuition program, the state’s accountability system and Louisiana’s community college system. A business-focused governor, he worked to reform the Louisiana worker's compensation system, pushed more business-friendly provisions governing lawsuits and championed sweeping changes to state tax policy.

The funeral services Wednesday came as Foster's small Louisiana city of Franklin near the coast was threatened by Hurricane Delta, which is forecast to strike Louisiana later in the week.

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and Republican former Gov. Bobby Jindal were among those in attendance, wearing masks because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to photos posted online by The Advocate. Also in attendance were many of Foster's former staff members and Cabinet secretaries.

Foster led a largely scandal-free administration, following retiring Gov. Edwin Edwards. Edwin Edwards was a Democrat who had dominated state politics for most of three decades, had a penchant for scandal and later went to prison for a corruption scheme to rig Louisiana's riverboat casino licensing process.

However, Foster became the first sitting governor fined by the state ethics board — $20,000 for failing to disclose his 1995 campaign purchase of mailing lists from Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.