New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Saturday, August 24, 2019
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Shrimping At West End

My mom, Dad and I would go out to west end during the summer in the late forties. We
would follow the New Basin Canal out Pontchartrain Blvd to West End. We would
stop at one of the trucks that sold buckets of clams for bait. We paid the grand
sum of 25 cents for a bucket of clams. When we got to the steps of the seawall
we would stake out a claim to one length of the steps from one slope to the
other. There were many other folks who staked out their part of the seawall too.
We would crack the clams with a hammer and throw the clams in the water at each
end of our staked out spot. After a few minutes my dad would cast a shrimp net
over the spot where we threw the clams. This went on all night with torches
burning for light until morning. Eventually we would have a burlap sack full of
Lake Shrimp. This normally would be on a Friday night and a Saturday morning. We
would take the shrimp home, pour them into the bathtub and purge them as we did
with Crawfish. Out would come the giant pots to start boiling those babies. By
evening our yard was filled with neighbors who brought soft drinks for the kids
and cases of Falstaff or Regal beer for the adults. We would feast out till all
the shrimp were gone.