Lieutenant Governor Nungesser grants official pardon to one lucky crustacean

Clyde the crawfish arrives at Palmetto Island State Park in Abbeville, LA, where Park Manager Marcelle Guidry releases him to live out the rest of his days. | Image Source: Office of the Lieutenant Governor

LAFAYETTE, La. (Office of the Lieutenant Governor) – Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, along with the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, granted an official pardon to Clyde the Crawfish during the Third Annual Pardoning of the Crawfish event.

This year’s celebration was held at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette next to Cypress Lake, a 2-acre habitat in the middle of campus for native irises, alligators, turtles, birds, and fish. Started in 2017 by Lt. Governor Nungesser and held on the first Tuesday following Mardi Gras, this unique event celebrates crawfish season in Louisiana and across the Gulf South.

The lucky crustacean was named Clyde, in honor of Dr. Clyde Rougeou who served as the president of what was then the University of Southwestern Louisiana from 1966-1974. During Dr. Rougeou’s presidency, the University became a doctoral-granting institution and added graduate programs in English, history, microbiology, mathematics, statistics, education, and computer science.

“Here in Louisiana, we are the largest domestic producer of crawfish producing about 150-million pounds a year. It’s a delicacy in our state and peak season runs now through Easter. So, what better way to celebrate our culture and heritage than to grant Clyde his freedom before he ended up on a tray in a restaurant or a backyard boil,” said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. “And in true Louisiana fashion, we had to have a party complete with music, food, family, friends. No matter where you go in Louisiana, you can find something that will Feed Your Soul, from our culture and arts to our cuisine and history.”

In keeping with tradition, Barry Toups of Kaplan, Louisiana, caught and selected the guest of honor for his reprieve. Clyde the Crawfish was then transported by police escort onto the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus where he was the king of his own parade to his regal habitat next to Cypress Lake. Lt. Governor Nungesser then bestowed the official pardon upon Clyde, delivering an official proclamation to the University to mark the event.

“Until today, Clyde the Crawfish was in a real pinch, so I hope he realizes how fortunate he is,” said University of Louisiana at Lafayette President Dr. Joseph Savoie. “In a few weeks, the University will hold its annual Lagniappe Day for students, faculty, and staff, and more than 20,000 pounds of Clyde’s crustacean cousins won’t be as lucky. By then, Clyde will be ensconced comfortably at Palmetto Island State Park. But fair warning, Clyde: don’t make any stops between campus and your new home. In some parts of South Louisiana, crawfish pardons don’t hold much water – but boiling pots do.”

Following his pardoning, Clyde was transported to Palmetto Island State Park outside Abbeville, Louisiana, where he was released to live out the rest of his days burrowing in the mud and making the state park his new home.

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