Crowley: The rice capital of America
By Cheré Coen
“Where life is rice and easy”
Claim to Fame
There are a host of elected officials hailing from Crowley, including former Gov. Edwin Edwards who was elected four times to Louisiana’s highest office. Other elected officials include U.S. Sen. John Breaux and Congressman Chris John, Louisiana Rep. Gil Pinac and Mayor Isabella Delahoussaye, one of the first female mayors of Acadiana.
- Mary Alice Fontenot, teacher, radio host, journalist and author of numerous children’s books, including the Clovis Crawfish series.
- Thomas Henry Casanova III, three-time All-American from LSU who played for the Cincinnati Bengals and served in the Louisiana State Senate.
- Record producer, songwriter and musician Joseph Denton “Jay” Miller, who recorded numerous artists and wrote the lyrics to the No. 1 song “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels,” recorded by Kitty Wells.
As of July 1, 2015 (U.S. Census)
With more than 200 structures on the National Register of Historic Places, there’s plenty to see in Crowley, including a host of beautiful Victorian homes. Be sure to stop at the Crowley City Hall, which houses the Rice Interpretive Center, the History of Crowley Museum, The Ford Automotive Museum and the J.D. Miller Music Museum in the restored, historic Crowley Motor Co., built in 1921.
Gotta Taste It
- Fezzo’s Seafood & Steakhouse
- Frosto Diner and Drive-Inn
- Zeus Greek and Lebanese
- Rice Palace
- Cajun Way Restaurant
- Burger Zone
- Old Tyme Cafe
Both the Grand Opera House of the South (1901) and the Art Deco-style Historic Rice Theatre (1939) are working venues but if you get a chance, don’t miss peeking inside. The Grand Opera House was visited by Babe Ruth, Clark Gable, opera singers Enrico Caruso and Madame de Vilchez-Bisset of the Paris Opera and Louisiana Gov. Huey P. Long.
Little Known Fact
Crowley was founded in 1886 by land developers C.C. Duson and W.W. Duson but named for Pat Crowley who brought the railroad and depot to the area. From its beginnings, the town was comprised of many nationalities. “We grew up in a real diverse hodge-podge of heritages,” said TV journalist and Crowley native Joe Paris.
If you’re looking for plenty of action and a toe-tapping good time, the International Rice Festival is for you. Held this year on Oct. 19-22, there will be entertainment, arts and crafts, carnival rides and yes, plenty of food! Find out more at ricefestival.com.