National Rice Month Celebrations Keep Louisiana Cooking

Mayor-Monceaux-Signing-NRM-Proclamation, surrounding by Rice Queens
Crowley Mayor Tim Monceaux (seated) makes NRM official
Sep 24, 2021
CROWLEY & LAKE CHARLES, LA -- Last weekend’s National Rice Month (NRM) festivities here had something for everyone as Kids Day kicked off with Mayor Tim Monceaux signing a proclamation declaring September as National Rice Month in Crowley, the Rice Capital of the World.  Joining Mayor Monceaux was International Rice Festival Queen Jimi Joubert who reminded everyone that “September is National Rice Month, but every day is Rice Day in Crowley!”

Hundreds of children and their parents made their way through City Hall, where USA Rice teamed up with Acadia Parish Tourism to remind everyone to “Thank a Rice Farmer.”  Part of the NRM celebration included National Rice Krispies Treat Day!  All visitors received a sampling of the favorite rice treats along with a chance to watch the comedic Rice Farming TV episode, “How Rice Krispie Treats Are Made,” created by California rice grower Matthew Sligar.  

“Matt’s video was a hit, and an easy, relatable way for us to share the importance of the local and national rice industries and the role that rice farmers play in providing the key ingredient to these fun-filled snacks,” said Nancy Loewer with the Acadia Parish Tourism Bureau.

Later in the day, the International Rice Festival held its annual Rice and Gravy Cooking Contest, where teams from the Crowley area prepared rice recipes for judging and samples for all attendees.  Falcon Rice Mill and its Cajun Country Rice brand sponsored the event, and Supreme Rice Mill had a team that participated in the contest.

“Cooking events like this are a great way to promote rice,” said Robbie Trahan, an owner of Falcon Rice who also serves as chair of the USA Rice Domestic Promotion Committee.  “There are a lot of titles you can earn as a cook, but in south Louisiana, being named the Best Rice and Gravy Cook is a true honor.”

Students in the Port of Lake Charles area geared up for a similar cooking competition on Wednesday sponsored by the Calcasieu-Cameron Rice Growers Association.  The event was cancelled last year due to Hurricanes Laura and Delta.

“It felt good to get back to tradition with our Rice Cook-Off,” said Cal Cam Rice Growers President Adam Habetz.  “With everything we have been through over the last year, getting back to something familiar goes a long way, and celebrating National Rice Month with the Port of Lake Charles reminds everyone that our industry is strong and here to stay.”

One of the contest judges was Mary Jemison, who retired from USA Rice a few years ago, but jumped at the chance to sample the variety of dishes prepared by the students.  Farmers Rice Mill of Lake Charles provided rice cookers for each student who entered the contest.

Throughout the remainder of September, and leading up to the International Rice Festival in Crowley on October 15-18, many more events honoring rice farmers and the rice industry are planned so the celebration continues!