CROWLEY – When most couples get married they hope to get a nice home, raise a family, and live a long, happy life together - possibly long enough to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Well, on Friday dozens of family members of Newton, 100, and Anna, 97, Leger gathered to celebrate their 80th anniversary, making them the longest married couple in Louisiana.
That’s right, the Leger’s have been married eight decades, having tied the knot on February 3, 1929 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Iota. Even more compelling - they have lived in the same house on the Egan Hwy. since the day they were married.
The Leger’s recognition as Louisiana’s oldest married couple may have gone unnoticed except for the group Louisiana Family Forum, whose representative April Altazan was on hand for the celebration.
“We’ve actually been doing this every year since 2002,” said Altazan. “We do research using churches, clergy, advertisements and e-mails and people respond. We like to show people that marriage does work in this day and age.”
When asked whether or not the Legers were longest married couple they had come across, Altazan responded “no, one year we found a couple who had been married 84 years, but they are pretty close.”
Newton, who was a lifelong farmer, and Anna are the parents of four children. Present Friday were Ashton Leger who is 75, Anna Marie Leger who is 66, and Wayne Leger whom they refer to as “the baby” at the young age of 59. The Newton’s had another son, Newton Jr., who is deceased.
Father Mike Polson was on hand to bless the couple and had a copy of their wedding certificate, which he said he would like to have read “but it’s in French”, drawing laughter from those in attendance.
The Leger’s were presented a proclamation from Governor Bobby Jindal’s office for their special occasion. Jindal was unable to attend so Crowley Mayor Greg Jones took his spot.
“I know I make a poor stand-in for the governor,” smiled Jones. “But I’d like to congratulate you both on this remarkable day for your family.”
After speaking with the Anna Marie Leger, one may consider changing their diet.
“Daddy always hated meat,” she said. “I don’t remember him ever eating any, but he loved his figs. Believe it or not, up until last year (when he was 99) he still mowed his lawn.”
Aside from having had four children, the Newton’s have eight grandchildren, thirteen great-grandchildren, and ten great-great-grandchildren.
When the Legers were married at St. Joseph’s, which they still consider their church, a small reception followed at Newton’s parent’s house. According to Anna Marie, family and friends traveled by horse and buggy to attend. Newton and Anna rode in Newton’s father’s Model T Ford.
According to family members, Newton and Anna started walking to school together in the 10th grade. Who would have guessed that what would follow would be an incredibly long, wonderful marriage, a home in which they have spent their lives together, and a very large, obviously loving family.