"Climate Change Is Hitting The Heart Of Cajun Country — Through Its Crawfish"

"Drought and last winter’s hard freeze have caused a massive shortage, driving up prices by 500 percent or more."

"Dane Powell put his name on small-town east Texas when he opened Dane’s Crawfish and More in 2020. The restaurant was an immediate hit among Kirbyville's rural population of roughly 2,000, even if COVID-19 restrictions forced them to work out of a drive-thru window.

Restaurants specializing in the freshwater crustacean and crawfish farming are common in the region. East Texas is deeply influenced by south Louisiana’s Cajun French culture—descendants of exiled colonial French Canadians. Much of the culture is passed down from ancestors who migrated across state lines. In fact, it could be argued that if Lafayette in Louisiana’s Acadiana region is the “heart of Cajun country,” then Powell’s hometown is part of its lungs.

Across the southern U.S., the Procambarus clarkiired species—known as the red swamp crawfish, crayfish, mudbugs, crawdads, or otherwise—are wild-caught in local waterways or farmed in ponds or rice fields flooded in the offseason, providing a rotational crop for farmers. The native mudbugs are culturally symbolic (Louisiana lawmakers designated crawfish as the state crustacean in 1983) and as a delicacy. Throughout the species’ harvest season spanning from November to July, millions of pounds of crawfish are boiled in Cajun spices and served in cardboard trays; in recent years, crawfish sold for as low as $2 to $3 per pound."

Xander Peters reports for National Geographic February 15, 2024.

Source: National Geographic, 02/20/2024