NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Easter tends to be the height of crawfish season and typically, it’s the perfect dish for large family gatherings for the holiday weekend, not this year.
“Instead of having big gatherings, where you know somebody’s coming to get 5, 6 sacks of crawfish,” Lindsey Manthey said, one of the vendors at the Westwego Shrimp Lot. “They’re just boiling with their immediate family but still celebrating the holiday.”
People aren’t getting as much crawfish or other seafood as they would in years past but they’re still buying.
“Whether they buy bulk, or they buy little. They’re coming out and getting what they need,” Derona Melerine said.
On Good Friday, there was a stead flow of people visiting the shrimp lot. The crowd caught some customers, like Betrice Lemon off guard.
“It’s just like it is every year, packed,” she said. “I guess everybody loves seafood. I’m just hoping everybody stays safe.”
There are signs at various vendor booths reminding customers to maintain a distance.
"I stay my 6 feet away from my customers,” said vendor Derona Melerine. “They do their credit card, their food stamp card, I step aside, they do what they need to do, they step back, I do what I need to do."
Vendors like Melerine are limiting interactions as much as possible to get people back in their cars and on their way home.
"We ain't got time to stop. We get one in, we get one out,” Melerine said. “We keep them going that way no one lingers that long. We talk a little while we're waiting, serving them, then we get them out."
On holiday weekends, Westwego officers are controlling traffic but this year, the lot owner asked for an additional officer to make sure people keep a distance.
“We’re just remind them, walk up to them from a distance, ‘they could step away, keep in mind,’ nobody’s having a problem with that,” Assistant Chief of Police Jason Dimarco said. “Everybody steps back when asked.”
Officers, vendors, and customers say they are all listening to local, state, and federal officials because they don’t want to see the lot shut down.
“People don’t hang around and talk too much. It’s get your seafood. Talk a little and move on," Melerine said.