Top 5 Famous People from Acadia Parish
We continue on with our Famous People From Acadiana series. This week we head down I-10 to highlight the folks who were born in Acadia Parish and went on to do some famous and sometimes infamous things.
In case it’s been a while since you’ve taken Louisiana geography, the parish includes towns such as Crowley, Rayne, Church Point, Iota, and Estherwood, to name a few. Parts of Duson and Eunice also make up the heavy agricultural area. Roughly 60,000 people currently call this parish home.
As suggested by many of you and through minutes of internet research, here it is, the Top 5 Famous People from Acadia Parish.
Orlando Thomas is best known for his work on the football field at Crowley High, UL and in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings. The hard-hitting, ball-hawking safety led Crowley High to the 1989 3A state title. He then went on to prominence at then-USL for head coach Nelson Stokley. A solid college career led him to get drafted in the second round by the Vikings. Thomas enjoyed seven seasons with Minnesota before retiring after the 2001 season. He enjoyed his best season in 1995 as he led the NFL with 9 interceptions while notching his only Pro Bowl nod.
In 2007 Thomas revealed he was suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's Disease. He is married to his wife Demetra and they have two children together, Alexis and Orlando Jr. Demetra has a child from a previous relationship.
A couple of years ago I had the great pleasure of meeting Orlando, Demetra and his wonderful kids. There's a lot of love in that house and I'm sure I speak on behalf of all of Acadiana when we offer our best wishes and deepest prayers to the Thomas family as they continue to fight a good fight.
He may have stayed at home, but there is no doubt that Wayne Toups is one of the most famous people to hail from Acadia Parish. Born to a rice farming family in Crowley, Wayne picked up an accordion at age 13 and it was no looking back. He recorded his first album in the early 1970s and by the early 80s he began gaining popularity at festivals and honky tonks throughout south Louisiana.
Toups is responsible for infusing cajun, country, zydeco, rock and R&B into a fusion that he coined Zydecajun. There have been many performers that have been influenced by Wayne's infectious flair on stage and on his recordings.
You can also hear Wayne's unique accordion sound on many Nashville recordings including the Mark Chesnutt hits "It Sure Is Monday" and "Gonna Get a Life", Clay Walker's "Live, Laugh, Love" and Alan Jackson's "Little Bitty".
The second of six children, she was born Victoria Anne Reggie in Crowley to Louisiana judge and banker Edmund M. Reggie and Doris Ann, a Democratic national committeewoman. Her immediate family was wealthy mainly due to her mother's family's interest in the Bunny Bread company. The family was also heavily involved in politics and campaigns.
Victoria holds a law degree from Tulane University and spent her practicing years specializing in bank law. She married her first husband in 1981 and was divorced by 1990. They have two children: Curran (born 1982) and Caroline (born 1985).
Although the Kennedy and Reggie families were friends for years, Victoria and Ted Kennedy didn't formally meet till 1991 at a 40th anniversary party for her parents. They married in 1992 and were married till his passing in 2009. No longer practicing law, Reggie Kennedy is president and co-founder of Common Sense about Kids and Guns, an advocacy group which seeks to reduce gun deaths and injuries to children in the U.S.
Born in Crowley, Harmon is best known for his role as Thorne Forrester on the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful. He took over that role from Jeff Trachta in December 1996. Before that he had a stint on All My Children as well as appearances on Baywatch Nights and Acapulco H.E.A.T. Before acting, Winsor was employed as a model for Ford Models.
Technically, Tommy was born in New Orleans. But since he is synonymous with Crowley and having lived there much of his life, he qualifies for the list. Tommy graduated from Notre Dame High School then went on to LSU where he became the only 3-time All-American in school history. His #37 jersey is retired by the university. He went on to play 6 season with the Cincinnati Bengals while making 3 Pro Bowls. He dabbled in politics and now is back home in Crowley working as an ophthalmologist. Casanova is married to Jeanne Basara, and they have two children, Lauren and Dominic.