Jam Downs

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James Crawford "Jam" Downs​

District Attorney for the 9th Judicial District (Rapides Parish, Louisiana)​
In office
December 2000​ – January 2015 ​
Preceded by Charles F. Wagner​
Succeeded by Phillip Terrell​

Born October 7, 1940​
Cheneyville, Rapides Parish​
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Maureen Stewart Downs​
Relations U. T. Downs (grandfather)​

J. Earl Downs (uncle)​
James U. Downs (cousin)
​ Louis J. Daigre, Jr. (maternal uncle)​

Residence Lecompte, Rapides Parish​
Alma mater Louisiana State University Law Center​
Occupation Attorney

James Crawford Downs, known as Jam Downs (born October 7, 1940), is the former district attorney of the Louisiana 9th Judicial District Court based in Alexandria, a position which he held from 2000 to 2015.


​ Downs, who has two sisters, is the son of Crawford Hugh "Sammy" Downs (1911-1985) of Alexandria who served in both houses of the Louisiana State Legislature and was a confidant of Governors Earl Kemp Long and John J. McKeithen. His mother, the former Alice Daigre (pronounced 'Dage'), subsequently Alice Downs and then Alice Thomas (1914-1994), was a sister of the Alexandria consulting engineer Louis Jacob Daigre, Jr.[1] (1915-1981). Sammy Downs is interred at Greenwood Memorial Park in Pineville.[2] Alice Daigre Downs Thomas, who died nine years after the passing of her first husband, from whom she was divorced, is interred at the Henderson James Cemetery in rural Hot Wells in Rapides Parish.[3]

Downs' uncle, J. Earl Downs, was the public safety commissioner prior to 1963 in Shreveport, where he served alongside Mayors James C, Gardner and Clyde Fant.[4] He was unseated in the 1962 Democratic primary by George Wendell D'Artois, Sr. (1925-1977).

Legal career

​ Like his father, Downs is a Democrat and a graduate of the Louisiana State University Law Center in Baton Rouge. Before his election as DA, Jam Downs had been an assistant district attorney. He is known for his interest in conservation, hunting, and enforcement of game laws. He was born in rural Cheneyville in south Rapides Parish but resides with his wife, the former Maureen Stewart, in a restored farmhouse nea Lecompte, also in Rapides Parish.[1]​ ​ "Jam" Downs is unrelated to the late John Harden Barnett Downs, known as Johnny Downs, a five-term member of the Alexandria City Council and the namesake of the Johnny Downs Sports Complex at 271 Vandenburg Drive in Alexandria.[5][6]

Three candidates ran in the primary held on November 4, 2014, to choose a successor to Downs, who customarily ran without an opponent. One was then state Representative Chris Hazel, a Republican from Ball, Louisiana, and a former assistant DA under Downs.[7] Democrat Christopher J. Roy, Jr., a Democratic former state representative and a brother of Jacques Roy, the former mayor of Alexandria, also sought the position.[8]

However, the winner of the race to succeed Downs was Phillip Terrell, Jr., a former city judge in Pineville with decades of legal experienc.[9]Terrell defeated Hazel in a close runoff election on December 6 and succeeded Downs in January 2015.[10] In 2018, Hazel won a special election for a judgeship on the 9th Judicial District Court.​


  1. 1.0 1.1 Rick Markway. "The Prosecutor: District Attorney James Crawford 'Jam' Downs". Lwaa.org. Retrieved on June 27, 2013.
  2. Alexandria Town Talk, May 15, 1985.
  3. The Alexandria Town Talk, August 22, 1994.
  4. Elliott Stonecipher, "Shreveport History: In Support of the Spring Street Museum," February 4, 2012.
  5. John Harden Barnett Downs. otbelgard.com. Retrieved on July 5, 2013.
  6. Johnny Downs Sports Complex. plus.google.com. Retrieved on July 5, 2013; no longer on-line..
  7. Jeff Matthews (April 28, 2014). Boyce businessman Grant announces run for Congress; Hazel won't run for [U.S. House seat]. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on April 29, 2014; no longer on-line..
  8. Chris Roy Jr. to run for Rapides Parish district attorney, February 19, 2014. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on April 29, 2014; no longer on-line..
  9. Phillip Terrell, former Pineville judge, enters race for Rapides Parish district attorney, April 4, 2014. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on April 29, 2014; no longer on-line..
  10. Runoff election returns, December 6, 2014. Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved on December 8, 2014.