It is difficult to look around the town of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana and not see a crawfish. They are painted on bridges, carved into signs, used to decorate doorfronts, and more. It is the Crawfish Capital of the World after all. But how and why? Louisiana as a whole is the largest producer of crawfish in the world with St. Martin Parish providing the most of that crawfish. Breaux Bridge specifically became so known for its crawfish farming and cooking that to celebrate its centennial birthday the Louisiana Legislature gave it the name in 1959.
Who decided such a funny looking creature would be a delicious undertaking? If you know the history of the Acadians in Breaux Bridge, it’s a simple leap. After Le Grande Derangement, the new inhabitants of South Louisiana, familiar with seafood because of their time in the Canadian maritime provinces and with help from the local Native Americans, decided to take advantage of the abundant food source. It wasn’t until the 1800s however that crawfish were farmed, and it wasn’t until many years later that they were seen as a culinary adventure for all people.
Today, crawfish farming is necessary to keep up with demands for the bright red crustaceans. How are they farmed? When crawfish became popular, many rice farmers decided to cash in on the crawfish already feeding in their flooded fields. As grain farming became less economical, many farmers switched to full-time crawfish farming but still plant the rice for food.
Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival
The Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival is the largest food festival in the state of Louisiana. 10s of thousands patronize the festival, which takes place on the first full weekend in May each year. Filled with music, delicious food, fun rides, crawfish races and the ever-important crawfish etouffee cook-off; the festival celebrates Breaux Bridge‘s claim to fame and honors the crawfish the town is known for.