The temperatures in mid-February have had everyone retreating inside, cranking up the heater, and bundling up. Pipes have been wrapped, fragile potted plants have been brought into the garage, and gardens have been covered with plastic sheets to shield from the worst of the weather. Unfortunately, the winter storm (in Louisiana, who would have thought?) that brought a week of below freezing temperatures comes at a time when Cajuns are gearing up for crawfish season in Breaux Bridge, LA.
Unlike humans, crawfish cannot bundle up or crank up the heaters, so they are left to suffer the whims of mother nature outdoors. What does a deep freeze truly mean for Louisiana’s favorite crustacean, you ask? Crawfish farmers will tell you that the magic temperature for a crawfish pond is around 65 degrees. A deep freeze that lasts simply overnight is no big deal. After all, Acadiana is used to freezing temperatures in the morning leading to a balmy afternoon. But a deep freeze that lasts for a week or more? Not ideal for the crawfish industry. In cooler temperatures, crawfish molt at a slower pace which means their growth is slowed down. If it gets really cold, crawfish will bury in the mud to protect themselves, but some will unfortunately die.
For a month or so after this deep freeze is over, crawfish boils in Breaux Bridge, LA can expect smaller, softer crawfish. After that however, the crawfish should be picking up the pace and growing larger. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean an end to a crawfish season that never began, it’s simply a delay. After all, who wants to eat at a crawfish boil where you need to wear several layers of clothes just to stay warm? Although standing next to the pot (but not too close!) is sure to keep you nice and toasty.