NEW ORLEANS (June 7, 2010 - Washington Post)—The Somethin' Else Cafe in New Orleans unveiled new menus just weeks ago. Already, they are filled with broken promises.
Jumbo shrimp is no longer on hand to fill a basket that should have eight pieces. Customers can get only one crab cake, not two, for $13. And "The Trinity," an omelet with shrimp, crabmeat and fried fresh catch, has become harder to guarantee.
Enter the humble Louisiana crawfish, a small, lobster-like creature, also known as crayfish.
As other crustaceans have slipped down the restaurant's menu because they thrive in the third of the Gulf of Mexico that has been closed to fishing, the crawfish, found in freshwaters not yet tainted on the western side of the state's coast, has clawed its way to a more prominent position. Crab-and-corn soup has become crawfish-and-corn soup. A seafood gumbo that once featured generous portions of crab and shrimp is now packed with even more crawfish meat.
If any place can serve as an instant gauge of how the oil spill has altered Louisiana's seafood industry, it is New Orleans, where servers shuck oysters by hand, gloveless and confident.