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Crawfish now king after Mardi Gras

Houma, La. - Lamira Butler came from Panama City, Fla. with a craving for one thing: crawfish.

"The seafood is so good down here, it's amazing," she says. "In Panama, it's nothing like here, it don't taste the same at all."

Hungry customers crowded the Crawfish House in Houma Wednesday. Some wanted the boiled mudbugs, others picked up pounds of live crawfish for dinner.

"We're going to go Ash Wednesday service and then go home and eat some boiled crawfish," says Tracie Bergeron of Chauvin. "Because you can't have meat today and you fast all day and so at night, we have our big meal."

Crawfish House owner Gary Blanchard says Ash Wednesday truly kicks off his busy season, though business has already been good this year.

"I brought in 150 sacks just yesterday and I think when we closed last night, we had 10 sacks left," says Blanchard. "It was so busy that the lady working the cash register couldn't see the door for three hours, that many people in here."

Blanchard says the prices are down from this time last year and the crawfish are much bigger.

Not everyone is having the same success.  Stephen Minvielle, executive director of the Louisiana Crawfish Farmer's Association, says other areas of the state are not seeing a lot of crawfish yet.

Cooler water temperatures keep the mudbugs underground. Minvielle says populations will likely increase around the state once the weather heats up for good.

While Blanchard is enjoying all the business at his shop, he's also looking forward to the end of crawfish season.

"I go into rehab after that because we work seven days a week, it's non-stop so by the time the season ends, we're ready to take a break," he says.

That break won't come anytime soon.

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