Saturday, September 11, 2010

Louisiana crab limits

A photo continuing my walk down Magazine Row headed downriver.
I was up in Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, an area that makes up about a quarter of New Orleans East, though without a map I can't tell what it's borders are.  It's a different world out there on Chef Menteur Highway (US Route 90 toward Mississippi).

Municipal New Orleans and Orleans Parish are coextensive.  It's an enormous place, as I've mentioned previously, much larger in area than any other city I'm familiar with.  I find it amazing that so much swampland exists within city limits.  Of course, the "back of town" used to be swampland until fairly recently.  The "urb" of the urban environment gradually filled in New Orleans present footprint over the course of its history, most quickly during the 20th century.  You can read all about it in the fine book "Bienville's Dilemma."

Back to the subject of today's report, fishing and crabbing are permitted in Bayou Sauvage, which I found surprising in a wildlife refuge.  The limit for taking crabs is twelve dozen!  Whether anyone actually has ever caught this many, I don't know but no one I've talked to seems surprised by that number.

I was chatting with a chap who was gong fishing at Grand Isle the other day and, after talking to me, he said he just might bring some crab traps along.  When I encountered him next, he told me what fish he had caught and mentioned he had captured three dozen crabs and brought them home.  Three dozen!  I would be happy coming home with six crabs.  I wouldn't know what to do with thirty-six.  He said, "I boiled 'em up at midnight.  The smell woke the kids up and they ate 'em."  It's good to have growing boys in the house.

I don't even know what kind of crabs I used to catch in New England except to say that they were rare.  This same gentleman gave me some tips of where I might find profitable hunting grounds up along Lake Pontchartrain.  "Lake Pontchartrain crabs," he said, "There's no better eating in the world."

Today's illustration is the next installment of the overhead signs on mid-lower Magazine Street.  I think the business is defunct.  I can't find any scrap metal on display in the storefront but that doesn't always mean anything.  Places I think look abandoned are oftentimes thriving concerns.  New Orleans is full of retail experiences that confound me.

A fascinating read.  Highly recommended.

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