In 1989, Louisiana guy Michael Arnone found himself in New Jersey during crawfish season.
Since he couldn't get home, he had some crawfish shipped up to New Jersey and held a boil for 70 folks "homesick for boiled crawfish."
To say it's grown is an understatement.
Michael's 30th annual Crawfish Festival will be May 31 to June 2 at Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta, New Jersey, featuring "the best food and music Louisiana has to offer."
The camping areas are selling out fast, and no wonder:
Music will be provided by a host of Louisiana artists, including Aaron Neville, the Rebirth Brass Band, Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience, Cowboy Mouth, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and Walter "Wolfman" Washington and The Roadmasters.
In addition to boiled crawfish that's trucked in, festivalgoers can dine on jambalaya, crawfish étouffée, alligator sausage, chargrilled oysters, plus po-boys (oyster, shrimp, catfish).
For information, go to crawfishfest.com.
Speaking of bringing the joys of a Louisiana crawfish boil to folks in other parts of the country:
Eileen and Val Vogel, of Kenner, report that "for the past six years, our grandson, his wife and their three children, who live in Cannon County, Tennessee, have brought up 200 pounds of live crawfish and invited friends and neighbors to a real crawfish boil, with all sorts of fixings."
Jerry Arbour says, "Many years ago, at the Louisiana State Bar Association's annual meeting in Sandestin, Florida, a group of us had dinner at a new restaurant, Prescott's.
"The chef was the son of Charles Brandt (owner of Baton Rouge's legendary Chalet Brandt on Old Hammond Highway).
"The meal was superb; I still recall that most of us had pecan crusted redfish.
"After the meal, we ordered coffee, and Chef Brandt came out to talk with us about Baton Rouge. We told him the only thing that could have made the meal better was Community Coffee Dark Roast.
"Later, one of our group returned to Prescott's and was served Community. Chef Brandt had dispatched someone to go to a grocery store and purchase it."
Sulynn Ganey thanks Jason King, "who fixed my tire after it blew out Sunday. I thanked him in person but was so tired after an eventful day that my 'thank you’ lacked the enthusiasm he deserved."
Gary E. Penton, of Pineville, says, "I was pastor of a small church in Franklinton, my home town, in the late '50s.
"My wife needed eye surgery in New Orleans. The cost was about $500, and we had to borrow the money and pay it back after collecting from her insurance.
"I went to my home town bank and asked for the loan. The bank manager overheard my request and noted the assistant's hesitation.
"He asked me, 'Are you Kenzie's son?' I answered in the affirmative, got the loan with no further identification needed, and paid it back from her teachers' insurance after successful surgery."
Carroll DiBenedetto, of Baton Rouge, says, "While Peggy and I were on our honeymoon in Florida, on the third morning, we discovered we were running out of money fast.
"Peggy had forgotten to get more money after she paid some wedding bills.
"Luckily, she had a small savings account book with her, which a local banker graciously cashed out.
"This kept us from having to call my dad to send us some money to get home."
Randy Jenkins says, "My wife, Michelle, and I are confused.
"With TV commercials' clarifications about 'Real people, not actors,' we were wondering if you are a real person, not an actor."
While I am indeed a real person, Randy, there are those who say I've been playing the role of a columnist for some time now. …
Which reminds me
When Lady Katherine's nephew was a teenager, he saw a photo on our kitchen wall of me with Tony Chachere when we judged a jambalaya contest at Pop's Bar on False River.
His reaction was, "You mean Tony Chachere's a REAL person?"