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When it comes to food, Louisianians know how to put on a spread. Hot and spicy, enough to feed an army, keep it coming, and fit for a king. That’s what I miss most about Louisiana since I’ve moved to Florida – the food – Cajun, Creole, Tex-Mex, and rice and gravy. No, not all on the same plate! 

Every year for the past eight years H and I have attended the Pensacola Crawfish Festival, held in Pensacola which is about an hour away from us. It’s a permanent mark on our calendar for the first weekend in May. There are lots of Crawfish festivals around this area, but we choose to go to this one because the crawfish, aka – crawdads or mud bugs, are shipped in from Louisiana and the cooks are from there too. Let’s face it – if you want the best crawfish you go to Louisiana! I may be a tad predjudious. 

We paid the $5 entrance fee each, had our hand stamped for re-entry and maneuvered through the crowds toward the enticing smell of Louisiana cooking wafting from the food booths.

Stopping first at the t-shirt booth, I searched through the merchandise because I had to have the current festival  T and I always get Andrew one because he’s usually busy with school at this time of year. At least he knows I think of him. My shirt was $20 and his was $24. Mine had sleeves so I got more bang for my buck! 

H noticed when we arrived there weren’t as many people as usual. There were still a lot and we still had to wait in a long line to get our six pounds of crawfish with potatoes and corn to the tune of $40 – $20 per  three pounds. We always go back for seconds. Rule of thumb for a crawfish boil is to plan for at least five pounds of crawfish per person. 

While we stood in line we had our usual fried boudin (pronounced boo-dan) balls as an appetizer – four for $5. You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten boudin balls. I guess I could probably make these at home – but let’s face it – I won’t. Here’s a recipe if you are wondering just what these little jewels consist of.

Our first supicions of change in the festival this year was that the crawfish booth required cash only with a $3 increase of the cost. Good thing I had gone to the bank. I had assured H they took debit cards though as he insisted we bring cash in with us. Not this year. 

Our second clue was when they insisted H did not need extra seasoning to sprinkle on his crawfish because they have seasoned theirs well and soaked them for a long time. They are usually happy to comply with a small to-go container of Zatarains.  But not the vendor today. He was having none of that! 

Our drinks were purchased at the next booth for $6 for two 20 oz sodas because let’s face it – if those crawfish were as hot and spicy and well-seasoned as the vendor claimed, we would need something cold and wet to cool us off and take the burn from our mouths. 

Finding a seat at the tables was another matter. When we finally did find two vacant seats together, we didn’t stay long. They were right next to the dj station and speakers bigger than my car were waaaay too close. I shook my head and motioned for H to follow me.  Now we know why those seats were free. My ears are still ringing. 

We opened our boxes ready to dig into the fare – with no extra seasoning. It looked good. It smelled good. It tasted ok. Just ok. We were disappointed. Our lips weren’t burning. They should be burning. There was no worrying about rubbing our eyes accidentally with red peppered fingers. The expensive sodas only washed away the  blandness. Needless to say, we didn’t go back for our second boxes. 

We stopped by the boudin booth on our way out for another round of fried boudin balls so we could at least say we had some great Louisiana food at the festival and something to show for the $110 we dropped in less than an hour. 

Being from Louisiana is sometimes a disadvantage for me because I know when the cooking  is authentic and I know when it’s a bad copy. This was a bad copy. Most of the people around us had no clue, but were still having a great time! 

So we haven’t really gotten our crawfish fix yet this year…We tried


About Elle Knowles

Elle Knowles lives in the Florida Panhandle with her husband and off-at-college-most-of-the-time son. She has four daughters, one son, and eleven beautiful grandchildren. 'Crossing the Line' is her first novel. The sequel 'What Line' is a work in progress. Recently published is Coffee-Drunk Or Blind - a nonfiction story of homesteading in the Alaska wilderness with her parents and four siblings, told through letters by her mother and remembered accounts from the family.

13 responses »

  1. Come to my house saturday! Crawfish, jambalaya and sauce piquante is on the menu. And I’ll let you have all the extra seasoning you want. Except we won’t be doing as much crawfish this year seeing as how these Georgia people only eat a few and not 3lbs like we estimated for non-louisianians last year! Lol! We’re still estimating 5lbs or more for the crawfish eaters. I could probably eat 10 of my kids would leave me alone long enough! They really need a ceawfish emoji.


  2. Yes we do and I miss it lots! I should cook more shouldn’t I Kate…it’s such a chore.


  3. Spent a week in NO once. OMG! I’d weigh 800 lbs. if I lived there. Every day started with beignets. Then po’ boys for lunch. Dinner was fabulous seafood mostly. You folks know how to eat!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry it was disappointing, especially when you’ve built up anticipation all year. Up my way we take our blue crabs very seriously. Steamed in beer with lots of Old Bay seasoning. Crab cakes must be lump backfin and we wouldn’t dream of breading and frying them. So I know how you feel when you want something authentic!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You have just made me so hungry. I see fish in my future.

    Liked by 1 person


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