In Louisiana, the
crawfish is everywhere. Throughout the region, you will see its bright red,
beady-eyed visage staring at you from billboards and tourist brochures.
Cartoon renditions of the sharp-clawed crustacean dance on souvenir T-shirts
and festival posters. During springtime, restaurant and seafood market signs
advertise Hot Boiled Crawfish, and the creature features on nearly every
menu, from classy restaurants in the French Quarter to no-frills diners
near the bayou.
Resembling tiny lobsters, crawfish grow wild in the freshwater wetlands
of Louisiana and, through aquaculture (water farming), provide the state
with a profitable industry. Elsewhere in the world, the crawfish goes by
many other names, including écrivesse in France, yabby in
Australia and crawdad or mudbug elsewhere in the States - but here in Louisiana,
it's crawfish and only crawfish. Once considered a food of poverty and desperation,
the crawfish is now a celebrated cornerstone of the state's diverse food
culture. If you leave Louisiana without once tasting crawfish, you had better
book a ticket back.