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Yes, I know what it means to miss New Orleans

March 6, 2011

Reminiscing a few days ago about the night I lived on Bourbon Street brought

back a flood of memories of the Big Easy.  My first wife and I lived there in ’66.

We had a small apartment near the French Quarter.  We lived in the top half of

the carriage house of a converted mansion.  One of Elvis’s mistresses lived there.

It seemed like easy duty.  She was around most of the time.

I was working for Southern Bell, helping string telephone lines way out into the

bayou for the NASA Michoud facility.  We killed a water moccasin almost every

shift we worked.  One night I found a discarded crab trap.  The splicer I assisted

showed me how to repair and use it.  I brought it back the next night fixed and

baited with liver.  I set it out at the start of the shift.

The cage was about 4′ wide, 4′ long and 2′ high.  It was made of steel fencing with a

very large gauge.  There were five openings that funneled the crabs in as they tried

to get to the bait in a smaller cage at the bottom.  Big ones could get in but not out.

At the end of  the shift I had about 20 blue crabs.  They were terrified.  You don’t

read much about fear levels in crustaceans, but they definitely had a problem

with me.  I got home about midnight and my wife had a huge pot full of boiling

water ready.  I put the trap down on several layers of newspapers.  The crabs were

frantically backing up and piling on top of each other in a far corner.  I put on

leather gloves to pull them out one at a time.  I opened the bottom of the cage.

If you’ve watched the lobster scene in “Annie Hall”, you know what happened next.

That’s right.  Stampede.  The phony bastards stormed me and scuttled throughout

the apartment.  My wife jumped up on the couch and started yelling non-stop.

None of what she was screaming was constructive.

I was scurrying around snagging them one by one, then dropping them into the

steaming pot.  They’d scratch for a few seconds on the bottom, then float to the

top, red and ready.  I completely rearranged the furniture tracking them down.

The last one was by far the biggest of them.  I grabbed him by the back of the shell

so he couldn’t grab me with his soon-to-be-succulent pinchers.  I dropped him

square over the pot, but he stretched his claws as wide as possible and clamped

on to the brim.

I had to find a hammer to knock him in the pot.  It took several serious blows.

Splashing water sanitized the kitchenette.  My wife calmed down and prepared

a wonderful midnight snack of fresh crab meat.  I caught one more batch, but

we decided against cooking them.  I set them loose near a schoolground under

cover of night.  I hope they were still around the next day to amuse the kids.

  1. March 6, 2011 10:07 am

    Poor little crabs! This is what I thought of when you mentioned the one who held onto the pot!

    • March 6, 2011 12:28 pm

      Oui, that was exactly the way it happened. I miss my puffy hat, ridiculous moustache and silly French accent.

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