Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser (right) is pictured here as he presents Emile’s official pardon proclamation to Zatarain’s President Claude Davis (left). (Photo courtesy of Kacey Hill)
Lieutenant Governor Nungesser pardons his second crustacean
The seafood industry drives the economic engine of the state, and, in doing so, is a way of promoting the state to the rest of the nation and the world.
This industry spikes during the time between Mardi Gras and Easter as people from around the state enjoy crawfish boils.
To celebrate the beginning of this time of year, Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser pardoned his second crawfish Monday.
According to a release from the lieutenant governor’s office, “this unique event celebrates that crawfish season in the Gulf South is underway.”
“The crawfish of honor was dubbed Emile after the founder of Zatarin’s who first introduced seafood boil mixes in the 1920s,” continued the release. “Emile originated in Kaplan and was selected for this honor by crawfish farmer Barry Toups. The fortunate crawfish was then whisked away to the New Orleans Jazz Museum, brought down the red carpet to the soundtrack of a live Zydeco band, and placed in a regal habitat to receive his official pardon from (Lieutenant Governor) Nungesser.”
During his recent address to the Ville Platte Rotary Club, the lieutenant governor mentioned the first crawfish pardon that happened last year.
“This past year, we pardoned our first crawfish,” he said. “We took Emile out of the Atchafalaya Basin, gave him an escort to New Orleans where we pardoned him, and then let him go in the state park to live out his life while the rest of his family got boiled alive.”
The lieutenant governor then shared with the Rotary Club that the event last year garnered much national attention. As he said, “It made USA Today and got a lot of national press about the crawfish industry, and it didn’t cost us anything.”
He also shared a chance meeting with Vice President Mike Pence where they discussed last year’s pardon.
“I got invited to the White House for St. Patrick’s Day, and everybody was huddled around the president,” Lieutenant Governor Nungesser said. “I went over to the vice president and was talking to him because we had taken him around during the flood before they got elected. He was asking me how things were coming back and how we were doing.”
“I told him we’re doing great and things are coming back,” he continued. “I said, ‘by the way, I know y’all pardon a turkey up here. Down in Louisiana on the first Monday after Mardi Gras, we pardon a crawfish. We took little Emile out to the swamp and let him go.’ He said, ‘Son, what the hell are you talking about.’ So, it didn’t go over quite as well as I thought with the vice president.”
Emile this year was released to the safe waters of Bayou Segnette State Park.