Family life and social life in St. Tammany Parish, the Louisiana Northshore, both revolve around food and nothing illustrates that better than crawfish season. Arrivals of the year’s first sacks of crawfish usually merit an announcement on the evening news, kicking off a feeding frenzy that lasts for months. Though the season can vary a little, supplies are most plentiful and most reliable from January to June.
At peak season, around April, Louisianans celebrate spring with huge crawfish boils, cooking up 30- and 40-pound sacks of the crustaceans in cauldrons of spiced-up boiling water. There’s almost always crab boil (usually Zatarain’s) involved as well as cayenne pepper. Salt and lemons, too. Different cooks favor varied additions – corn on the cob, potatoes, mushrooms, whole garlic pods, sausage, among them. The crawfish et al often are dumped, steaming, onto a tall table that has been lined with newspaper and family and friends gather around, standing, to feast, drink, laugh and repeat.
Visitors sometimes are invited to these convivial crawfish boils (or are lucky enough to take part in one.) Cajun Encounters swamp tours in Slidell have tour captains that double as master boilers, and can arrange crawfish boils for groups in their pavilion. But seafood markets and restaurants get in on the action, too, selling hot boiled crawfish by the pound. (Expect to eat, on average, 3-5 pounds each!) Crawfish aren’t just served boiled. You’ll find them in iconic Louisiana dishes like crawfish étouffée or silky bisque, thrown into fettucine and other pasta dishes and battered and fried.
The outpost for all things outdoors in St. Tammany, Bayou Adventure in Lacombe, boils up crawfish in their Bayou Kitchen. This fascinating shop sells live bait, rents bicycles and fishing gear, and rents kayaks and paddleboards for trips down Cane Bayou. Make a day of it, and live large, Louisiana Northshore-style.
for dine-in crawfish on the Louisiana Northshore
Boiled and fried seafood and crawfish étouffée, too.
1300 Gause Blvd., Slidell
Take home or eat there at the popular market and restaurant.
2020 LA Hwy 59, Mandeville
Boiled crawfish is among the Northshore’s best, and they ship overnight all over the U.S!
400 Pontchartrain Drive, Slidell
ORLANDO’S SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Locals love this spot known for boiled seafood.
304 LA-22, Madisonville
Legendary selection of seafood at this buffet-style restaurant off the beaten path.
81790 LA-21, Bush
CRAWFISH ON THE GEAUX
These take-out spots serve boiled crawfish in drive-through fashion!
2600 Florida St., Mandeville
BAYOU BOIL ‘N’ GEAUX
1512 N Hwy 190, Covington