By Harper Hollis
Seven years ago, my buddy Mac and I were your typical “90 day wonders”. Fresh off our first year at LSU, we ventured out West to see for ourselves what this place was all about. We brought with us 60 lbs of live crawfish and a case of Abita brew. Mac’s brother Chris lived out here and was a chef at the 4 Seasons. He had everything set up for us right when we pulled into town. He cooked up the crawfish for a crowd of about 12 people. That day we made life-long friendships with 12 strangers and a tradition was born.
I never could have imagined that 1. I would still be in Jackson 7 years later and 2. That this Crawfish Boil would morph into what it is today. Without the help of Dylan, Billy, Trey, and countless other friends, the Boil would not be possible. This year Chef Billy will be cooking up 1000 lbs of crawfish (w/ all the fixins of course). Chef Trey will be making 30 gallons of red beans-n-rice and 20 lbs of boudin. We will have live music all day starting at noon and finishing at dark, or… when the cops show up. Seven different bands including The Stooges Brass Band from New Orleans will take to the outdoor stage at Cutty’s. After just playing Bonnaroo and Jazz Fest, this will be quite a change of scenery for those guys.
First time to the Crawfish Boil? What to expect? I can tell you this: You will not be disappointed. You will be welcomed with open arms to a Louisiana tradition that we are very proud of. Some advice to the newbies: Don’t be shy. Dig in and get dirty. Ask questions if you have them. Odds are somebody from the South will be close by and more than happy to help in any way. Get there early and stay late. Dance. Kick off those shoes and enjoy all the live music the day offers. Share a beer with a stranger. There’s something about cracking some crawfish and enjoying an ice cold beverage with someone that I can’t quite explain. A sort of bond is formed. You will make memories that will last forever.
I can’t wait to share this day with all of you. Louisiana is home for me. That’s where I was born and raised and that is where my family is. But Jackson is now my home too. This Crawfish Boil is our little attempt at combing the two. Crawfish, live music, cold beer, good friends, the Tetons… it doesn’t get much better than that. See y’all there! -HH