The peerless Southern Foodways Alliance sent author & oral historian Sara Roahen to Bayou Lafourche, where she interviewed shrimpers, crabbers, and other hard working people in the seafood industry. Check out the “Down the Bayou” oral histories, along with Sara’s excellent photos and a few short videos.
It’s nice to see the focus on food producers, rather than on chefs and diners. Shrimp poboys are a wonderful thing, but far too many people never stop to consider the shrimper. So read the oral histories, and you’ll understand why you should ask for wild-caught, Gulf seafood–why you should flat-out insist on it. Stop buying cheap, imported IQF shrimp, canned, imported crabmeat, and people like those chronicled in the oral histories can continue to earn a living.
What place do you recommend for fresh crabmeat. I’ve tried buying my own crabs and picking them but I always end with more shells than meat
In NOLA or down the bayou? The seafood processors featured in the SFA’s oral history collection operate a retail market in Lockport, LA, called Punch’s Seafood…they pick & package crabmeat directly on site. See the link above, and you can find the contact info.
In NOLA, try Rouse’s supermarket; buy refrigerated crabmeat in plastic tubs (not metal tins, which usually indicate pasteurization/heat treatment). Each plastic container will have the processor’s name & license number on it. Going on the principle that closer to you, geographically, is fresher, and fresher is better, try to find stuff picked nearby, not trucked in from Alabama or Texas. Ponchartrain Blues is a processor in Slidell whose crabmeat is often available in NOLA. Shafer & Rusich seafood market in Bucktown is a reliable retail outlet, as is Zimmer’s Seafood, 4915 St Anthony, in Gentilly.