60 Years Ago, JFK Attended the 23rd International Rice Festival in Crowley. For the First Time, Here Are the Color Photos.

At the invitation of Judge Edmund Reggie, John F. Kennedy was the guest of honor at the 23rd annual International Rice Festival in Crowley, where he was joined by his wife Jackie.

Sen. John F. Kennedy campaigns for President in Crowley. Congressman Edwin W. Washington is on the right. Photo source: the Reggie Family Collection; Colorized by Lamar White, Jr, Bayou Brief.

Next week, the people of Crowley will commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of a visit by, arguably, the most famous guests they have ever hosted, a young Massachusetts Senator named Jack Kennedy and his beautiful young wife Jackie, who were there during a campaign swing in Louisiana and Texas. Jack had been invited to Crowley by a young city judge named Edmund Reggie. Reggie, a popular Lebanese-American judge, civic leader, and powerful Democratic Party force, was widely admired by his friends and colleagues and, soon, the Kennedy Family as well.

His daughter Vicki, decades later, would fall in love and marry Jack’s youngest brother Teddy. The judge became Teddy’s father-in-law.

Jack and Jackie had gone to New Orleans first, but the following day, Friday, Oct. 16th, 1959, they headed to Crowley.

I decided to upload as many of these as I could, though the captions will remain a work in progress.

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Lamar White, Jr.
Lamar White, Jr. is an award-winning writer and the publisher and founder of the Bayou Brief, Louisiana’s only statewide news and culture publication. Born and raised on the banks of the Red River in Alexandria, he is a proud product of the Louisiana public education system and a graduate of Rice University in Houston and SMU’s Dedman School of Law in Dallas. Lamar has been writing about politics and public policy in Louisiana for twenty years, beginning as a weekly youth columnist for his hometown paper, the Town Talk. After earning his undergraduate degree in English and Religious Studies, Lamar moved back to Alexandria, where he launched a popular blogsite, CenLamar, and worked for five years as the Special Assistant to the Mayor. He exposed significant problems with Louisiana’s school voucher program, which resulted in a series of other investigations and ultimately in the removal of several schools from the program. He was the last person to argue online with Andrew Breitbart. He investigated and then broke the report that U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise had once attended a white supremacist conference. He was the first to share a photograph of Bobby Jindal’s portrait in the state Capitol. He exposed U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy’s incomplete timesheets while the then-representative moonlighted as a physician. He earned headlines in Texas after the gubernatorial campaign of Greg Abbott falsely claimed he had been exploited as a “campaign prop” by Abbott’s opponent, Wendy Davis, and after exposing U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign for relying on online “bot farms” to counter Beto O’Rourke, and he earned headlines in Mississippi after publishing videos of U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith making bizarre comments about public hangings and voter suppression tactics which were both perceived as racist. Lamar was the recipient of the 2011 Ashley Morris Award, given to the writer who best exemplifies the spirit of New Orleans, and in 2019, he was honored as one of Gambit’s Top 40 Under 40 and as the year’s Outstanding Millennial in Journalism at the annual Millennial Awards. He has been the subject of profiles in the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, Above the Law, and the Advocate and has appeared multiple times as a guest on CNN and MSNBC. Lamar currently lives in New Orleans with his two golden retrievers, Lucy Ana and Ruby Dog.