Louisiana crawfish tradition becomes global phenomenon - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Louisiana crawfish tradition becomes global phenomenon

Posted: Updated:

(CBS News) - In New Orleans, nearly 10,000 people showed up to turn a genuine south Louisiana ritual into a new world record. Twenty-seven thousand pounds of crustaceans went into making the world's largest crawfish boil, Jamie Wax reports.

But what used to be a local Louisiana ritual is now spreading to backyards nationally, as the crawfish business is now a half a billion dollar-a-year industry.

The trend has kept Mike Morse busier than ever. He runs Zatarain's, the world's leading maker of the spices used in boiling crawfish.

"It goes all over the U.S. and to extent all over the world, and a lot of that has become post-Katrina; a lot of folks have been displaced," Morse told CBS News.

Crawfish used to be caught mostly in the wild, but the increasing demand has rice growers transforming their fields into fish farms.

Burt Tietje is one of 1,200 rice farmers who collectively harvest about 100 million pounds of crawfish a year.

"We don't feed them, we don't fertilize them, we don't do insecticides, we don't do anything," Tietje said. "It's just water and land and we have crawfish."

Another factor is the growing threat to his business from abroad. Last year China exported 18 million pounds of crawfish to the U.S.

"I'm not a big fan of Chinese crawfish," Tietje told CBS News. "I just don't think they can deliver that live fresh product like we can deliver from Louisiana"

For now, Louisiana has the upper hand and Mike Strain, the states' commissioner of agriculture, wants to make sure it stays that way.

"We export now more than half of our crawfish," Strain said. "What I tell everybody is when the season starts eat them quick before they ship them out of state!"

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • MH17 family living in 'hell beyond hell' after losing three kids

    MH17 family living in 'hell beyond hell' after losing three kids

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 5:23 PM EDT2014-07-23 21:23:40 GMT
    Siblings Evie, Mo and Otis Maslin died when the Malaysia Airlines jetliner was shot down over eastern Ukraine on Thursday. (Courtesy of Maslin Family)Siblings Evie, Mo and Otis Maslin died when the Malaysia Airlines jetliner was shot down over eastern Ukraine on Thursday. (Courtesy of Maslin Family)
    (NBC News) Parents who lost three young children and their grandfather when Flight MH17 was shot down by pro-Putin rebels revealed that they now "live in a hell beyond hell." More >>
    (NBC News) Parents who lost three young children and their grandfather when Flight MH17 was shot down by pro-Putin rebels revealed that they now "live in a hell beyond hell." 
    More >>
  • APD: Weapons/Narcotics arrest

    APD: Weapons/Narcotics arrest

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 12:27 PM EDT2014-07-23 16:27:53 GMT
    ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) -- On July 22, 2014, at 1:00 AM, APD Officers were dispatched to the 700 Block of Everett Street in reference to an assault with a firearm.More >>
    ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) -- On July 22, 2014, at 1:00 AM, APD Officers were dispatched to the 700 Block of Everett Street in reference to an assault with a firearm.More >>
  • Tennessee man accused of threatening to kill Obama

    Tennessee man accused of threatening to kill Obama

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 2:52 PM EDT2014-07-23 18:52:07 GMT
    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A man left profanity-filled voicemails with Tennessee's homeland security office threatening to kill President Barack Obama and other officials, saying in one that he would "light Nashville up," according to court documents.More >>
    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A man left profanity-filled voicemails with Tennessee's homeland security office threatening to kill President Barack Obama and other officials, saying in one that he would "light Nashville up," according to court documents.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KALB. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.