To kickoff crawfish season, Louisiana's Lieutenant Governor spared one from the boiling pot.
Zatarains Crawfish Pardoning
Left to right: Louisiana Crawfish Queen Alexis Wilson, Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, Claude Davis of Zatarain's, and Mayor Sherbin Collette of Henderson, LA (member of the Louisiana Seafood Board, fisherman and reigning Crawfish King).

It's been a tradition since the 1940s that the President pardons a turkey (or two) from its Thanksgiving fate. Now, New Orleanians, known for the ability to create a party or parade around anything, are applying the time-honored concept to their state's most celebrated shellfish.

The first-ever pardoning of a crawfish was held this past Tuesday to commemorate the beginning of crawfish season. Local fisherman Mayor Sherbin Collette of Henderson, Louisiana, caught the crawfish which was selected to be spared by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board. It was then transported to the Old U.S. Mint in New Orleans to receive his official pardon from Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. Current Crawfish Queen Alexis Wilson was also present in full royal regalia, as was Zatarain's Principal Product Developer Claude Davis.

Named, Emile, after the founder of Zatarain's, the lucky crustacean was saved from a future in a pot of boiling water to live a full and vibrant life in Bayou Segnette State Park by Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries.

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"With Louisiana crawfish representing more than 90 percent of the domestic U.S. crawfish supply, we felt it important to grant Emile his freedom before people around the country dig into their favorite crawfish dish or boil party. Emile is sure to enjoy his freedom in our beautiful State Park along Bayou Segnette," said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser.