Journalist seeks crawfish stories, history for upcoming book

Journalist Sam Irwin is writing a book on the modern Louisiana crawfish industry.

The book, titled Louisiana Crawfish: A Succulent History of the Cajun Crustacean, is expected to be released by History Press in time for Mardi Gras 2014.

Irwin, a native of Breaux Bridge, spent nearly all of his childhood (and a good part of his adult life) in Henderson at Amy’s Fisheries, his grandfather’s fish market. Amy’s Fisheries was first established in Butte la Rose in the 1920s and became one of the early businesses in Henderson in 1936.

The “fish dock,” as it was called by family members, was located directly behind Amy’s Grocery, a popular grocery store at the foot of the Atchafalaya Spillway levee near Pat’s Waterfront Restaurant.

“Everyone, even little kids, knew my grandfather as Joe,” Irwin said. “I called him Poppa, but the best way to pronounce his last name is always Cajun-style — Ahh-mee.”

Irwin said he witnessed the Atchafalaya River’s evolution from a fish economy to a crawfish-driven market.

He has heard that some folks were embarrassed to admit they ate crawfish because it was considered “low class” (bas clas) and would like to interview anyone with such a story.

Irwin would also like to hear from Pierre Part residents and other locations on the eastern side of the Atchafalaya Basin and the rice-growing parishes to learn how crawfish became king in the big city, the Cajun prairie and beyond Louisiana’s boundaries.

He also wants to hear your “crazy for crawfish” story as well.

Irwin’s contact is or 225-924-2756.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

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