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GMA Dave Trips: Crowley, the Rice Capital of the World

Where Life is "Rice" and Easy!
Posted at 4:30 AM, Oct 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-21 05:30:56-04

At the crossroads of LA 13 and Highway 90 lies the city of Crowley. It was founded by C.C. and W.W. Duson back in 1886. At just 136 years old, Crowley is practically a teenager compared to other cities in our state. But what a ride it's been!

Railroad near the Supreme Rice Mill in Crowley

If you didn't know, Crowley is a railroad town. It was named after Pat Crowley, who was the railroad owner who brought the depot to the land owned by the Duson brothers. The town was a planned community. The streets and properties were plotted out and developed. Unlike many Louisiana towns, the layout is a grid, using numbered and lettered streets with the courthouse circle being the center.

Crowley First National Bank

The daughter of W.W. Duson married the man who would create the First National Bank of Crowley. You know it as the 7 story building in the downtown area. At one time, it was the tallest building between New Orleans and Houston!

Crowley eventually becoming the government seat of Acadia Parish, edging out Rayne. It could have been the seat Nicholls Parish, but a priest in Rayne is credited for the name Acadia, derived from the former French Colony.

Acadia Parish Courthouse in Crowley

Although still a railroad town, I-10 is the major east west roadway with upwards of 60,000 cars and trucks a day passing by. And as much as Crowley has grown over the years, with new businesses, and tourism opportunities, Crowley is still a farm town. Known as the Rice Capital of the World. The city still caters to the farm community.

Supreme Rice Mill in Crowley

The Supreme Rice Mill continues to operate today. Coming to Crowley in 1937 from Kaplan, the mill processes more that a billion pounds of rice annually. Their recent expansion allows them to ship Louisiana rice to customers around the world.

Their downtown has transformed over the past decade, thanks to the the Crowley Main Street Organization. Must sees are the Grand Opera House of the South restored in 2004, reopening in 2008.

Parkerson Avenue in Crowley

Another big renovation project is the Crowley Motor Company building. Renovations starting there in 2003, it's now City Hall. But visit the museum and the JD Miller Studio. Not to be outdone, the Rice Theater, restored in the 1980s continues to host various events. You can find some great walking tour maps on the city's website.

Miller Stadium in Crowley

The roots of baseball run deep in Crowley. At Miller Stadium, semi pro teams, including the Crowley Millers played in the 1940s and 50s. For several decades the City of Crowley used it for their recreation department. In 1998 the park was renovated and is now used for youth baseball, high school ball, American Legion and some semi pro teams.

Don't forget it's also home to the International Rice Festival held every October. The Rice Festival is one of the oldest continuing agriculture festivals in the state.