The 2007 Bonne Crevette Season (brown and white Louisiana shrimp) is open! The wait is over for chefs of the New Orleans French Quarter, Louisiana's shrimping families and shrimp lovers everywhere.
As shrimpers hauled in the first catch of the season, the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board (LSPMB) scooped them up for direct delivery to Quarter chefs on May 15. In a season kick-off event, they brought heightened visibility to wild-caught Louisiana shrimp and the shrimping families who have always made it happen.
At OMNI BANK armed guards loaded blocks of shrimp packaged in gold into an armored truck for delivery to some of the Quarter's most prestigious restaurants. First stop, K-Paul's, where internationally famous Chef Paul Prudhomme waved to the approaching entourage, including shrimping families in horse-drawn carriages, an eight-foot tall dancing shrimp, a Dixieland brass band, local business owners, and other supporters of the shrimping community.
New Orleans Councilman James Carter did the honors, presenting Chef Paul with what shrimpers traditionally have called their catch - bayou gold.
"Fishermen are the kingpin of shrimping," said Chef Paul. "These families hold up the whole house of cards, harvesting over 100 million pounds every year. I will always serve wild-caught Louisiana shrimp. Because it's local. Because it's the best."
Jim Hudson, president of OMNI BANK, said, "It's no coincidence that Louisiana shrimpers call it bayou gold. Here at OMNI, we know a good value when we see it and we're proud to be a part of this effort."
Ewell Smith, LSPMB executive director, added, "Louisiana chefs didn't become famous cooking chicken or beef. Fresh seafood from our waters is the foundation of our esteemed culinary tradition."
Cathy Blanchard is one of the spirited founding members of Ladies of Lafourche Shrimpers, a group that works to get a fair price for shrimpers at the dock. "This is an excellent event for our industry," Blanchard said. "It helps promote wild domestic Louisiana shrimp. If you want to help, it's simple. Demand Louisiana shrimp. It will make a difference."
At the opening ceremony, French Quarter businessman Mel Ziegler announced an upcoming sister event. The New Orleans Seafood Festival is a grand, weekend celebration of Louisiana's culinary and music heritage. It is staged in the French Quarter at the Louisiana State Museum's Old U.S. Mint, June 8-10.
For recipes and seafood suppliers, go to LouisianaShrimp.com.
For more information, contact Sara-Ann Harris at 504-283-8292 or SaraAnn@LouisianaSeafood.com.