|Crowley, Louisiana, City Judge|
|Preceded by||Denis T. Canan|
|Born||Edmund Michael Reggie
July 19, 1926
Crowley, Acadia Parish
|Died||November 19, 2013
|Resting place||Woodlawn Mausoleum in Crowley|
|Spouse(s)||Doris Ann Boustany Reggie|
|Relations||Son-in-law Edward M. Kennedy
Wife's cousin Charles Boustany
Edmund M. Reggie, Jr.
|Alma mater||University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Reggie was born in the rice-growing city of Crowley, the seat of government of Acadia Parish in southwestern Louisiana, but resided in his later years in Lafayette. He claimed to have been the youngest person ever to have served as a judge in American history. He was the second father-in-law of the late U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who was only six years Reggie's junior.
Reggie was of Lebanese descent. In 1946, he received a bachelor's degree from Southwestern Louisiana Institute in Lafayette (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette). In 1949, he procured his law degree from the Tulane University Law School in New Orleans.
Reggie was married to the former Doris Ann Boustany, the daughter of businessman Frem F. Boustany, Sr. (1903–1993), and the former Beatrice Joseph (1912–1988), who was born in Crowley, reared in Houston, Texas, and settled in Lafayette after her marriage. Beatrice Boustany was a cousin of Amin Gemayel, a former president of Lebanon. Frem F. Boustany, Jr., a physician and brother-in-law of Reggie, died two months before Boustany's mother, Beatrice.
Doris Reggie is a second cousin of U.S. Representative Charles Boustany of Lafayette, a Republican, who represents Louisiana's 3rd congressional district. Boustany is a nephew-by-marriage of former Governor Edwin Washington Edwards, a Reggie confidant who also began his long political career in Crowley though Edwards was a native of Avoyelles Parish.
Reggie served as acting judge for the ailing Crowley City Judge Denis T. Canan, who was also Reggie's law partner. When Canan died in 1950, Reggie was appointed by Governor Earl Kemp Long to Canan's seat, a fulfillment of Canan's dying wish. Appointed at the age of twenty-four, Reggie was reputed to be America's youngest judge at that time. Reggie held the post for twenty-five years until 1976.
At the 1956 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, with the Louisiana and Massachusetts state delegations sitting across the aisle from each other, Reggie brokered the delegation's support for U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy for Vice President (on a ticket with Adlai Ewing Stevenson, II), rather than Senator Estes Kefauver, who was preferred by Louisiana Governor Earl Long.
In the 1960 presidential election, Reggie was a leader in John F. Kennedy's Louisiana campaign. In 1959, he invited Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, to attend the International Rice Festival in Crowley as honored guests. This afforded Kennedy the opportunity to address a crowd of 130,000 people. The Kennedys were greeted by enthusiastic crowds — the largest JFK addressed prior to his Democratic presidential nomination in July 1960. Working with Reggie in the campaign was the former Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Sidney McCrory of Ascension Parish.
Reggie was nominated as presidential elector in Louisiana for the Democratic ticket of John F. Kennedy-Lyndon B. Johnson and cast his vote when Kennedy handily prevailed in the statewide popular vote. Other national Democratic electors that year were Louisiana Attorney General Jack P.F. Gremillion, former U.S. Senator William C. Feazel, former State Senator Frank Burton Ellis of Covington, and Leon Gary of Houma, later director of the Louisiana Department of Public Works.
Following his inauguration, President Kennedy sent Reggie on a 1961 State Department cultural exchange to the Middle East where in Lebanon he was given a hero's welcome in his parents' hometown of Ihden. Reggie continued to serve the president as liaison with then Louisiana Governor Jimmie Davis from 1961 until Kennedy's assassination in 1963.
In 1963, Reggie introduced the young political consultant Gus Weill of Lafayette to Louisiana Public Service Commissioner John McKeithen, who retained Weill to manage his gubernatorial campaign. Weill previously managed the Davis campaign and later wrote a biography of his mentor entitled Your Are My Sunshine.
In 1968, Judge Reggie spearheaded the Robert F. Kennedy presidential primary campaign in Louisiana. Reggie invited Kennedy to speak at the 1968 International Rice Festival in October of that year, just as Kennedy's brother, John, had done nine years earlier. As history unfolded, Robert Kennedy was assassinated in June 1968, four months prior to his planned appearance at the rice festival.
In the 1971 Democratic gubernatorial primary to choose a successor to John McKeithen, Reggie supported not his Crowley friend, Edwin Edwards, but former Governor Jimmie Davis, one of the more conservative candidates in the crowded field. At the time Reggie erroneously considered Edwards unelectable. The decision hampered their relationship, and the two did not speak for three years."
In May 2008, the Louisiana Department of Culture and Tourism declared the location where JFK delivered his 1959 International Rice Festival speech in Crowley an area of historical significance and erected an historical marker.
On the morning of November 19, 2013, Edmund Reggie died at the age of eighty-seven at his Lafayette home surrounded by his wife and family. Services were held on November 22, the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Crowley. Interment followed in Woodlawn Mausoleum in Crowley.
- 1930 United States Federal Census, Acadia Parish, Louisiana [database online] Provo, UT, provided through Ancestry.com, accessed 2005-02-25
- From the Cedars of Lebanon to Acadiana A book by Samuel J. Reggie
- Who's Who in the South and Southwest, 13th Ed., 1973-1974, Marquis Who's Who, Inc., Chicago, 1973
- "Social Security Death Index". ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- "[Beatrice] Boustany service set", Lafayette Daily Advertiser, October 15, 1988, p. 20
- "Judge Edmund Reggie laid to rest: Democratic Party insider died Tuesday at 87, November 22, 2013". Lafayette Daily Advertiser. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- www.lapoliticalmuseum.com Edmund M. Reggie Online version
- The Rise of Louisiana Boy to Governor's Counsel Times-Picayune, New Orleans, 1979-09-16
- Jim Bradshaw. "Acadiana Diary: Louisiana delegation helped bring JFK to notice". The Daily Advertiser (Lafayette, LA). Retrieved 2008-10-28.
- Crowley Rice Festival, 1959
- "W. C. Abbott, Jr., "A barefoot boy from Home Villa had a hand in history"". thepineywoods.com. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
- Minden Press November 7, 1960
- Reggie Called JFK Emissary
- Photo of Reggie on shoulders of Lebanese crowd
- Schleifstein, Mark (1989-05-25). "Reggie a player in politics". The Times-Picayune (New Orleans). p. A-1.
- "Oral Histories: Gus Weill". www.sos.la.gov. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- Leo Honeycutt, Edwin Edwards: Governor of Louisiana, Lisburn Press, 2009, p. 70
- English, Bella (August 26, 2009). "Ted Kennedy. A Life in Politics". The Boston Globe.
- Reggie gets 120 days at home in bank case
- www.lapoliticalmuseum.com Edmund M. Reggie Online version
- "Judge Edmund Reggie". Lafayette Daily Advertiser. Retrieved November 23, 2013.