Photo1 Ltgovnungesser Joined By Crawfishfestival Queens And MissulLAFAYETTE, La (press release) – Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, along with the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, granted an official pardon to Emile the Crawfish during the 4th Annual Pardoning of the Crawfish event. This year’s celebration was held at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette next to Cypress Lake, a 2-acre habitat in the middle of campus for native irises, alligators, turtles, birds, and fish. Started in 2017 by Lt. Governor Nungesser and held on the first Tuesday following Mardi Gras, this unique event celebrates crawfish season in Louisiana and across the Gulf South.

The lucky crustacean was named Emile, in honor of J. Emile Verret, who served as Louisiana Lieutenant Governor from 1944-1948 and was a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1905, then called the Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute. J. Emile Verret was first elected to the Iberia Parish School Board in 1912, serving as president from 1914-1943, when he ran for Lieutenant Governor. Verret ran second to Earl K. Long in the first primary, but defeated Long in the second balloting to become the 41st Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana.

“Here in Louisiana, we are the largest domestic producer of crawfish producing about 150-million pounds a year. It’s a delicacy in our state and peak season runs now through Easter. So what better way to celebrate our culture and heritage than to grant Emile his freedom before he ended up on a tray in a restaurant or a backyard boil,” said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. “And in true Louisiana fashion, we had to have a party complete with music, food, family, and friends. No matter where you go in Louisiana, you can find something that will Feed Your Soul, from our culture and arts to our cuisine and history.”

In keeping with tradition, Barry Toups of Kaplan, Louisiana, caught and selected the guest of honor for his reprieve. Emile the Crawfish was then transported by police escort onto the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus where he was the king of his own parade to his regal habitat next to Cypress Lake. Lt. Governor Nungesser then bestowed the official pardon upon Emile, delivering an official proclamation to the University to mark the event.

“I want to thank Lt. Gov. Nungesser and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board for bringing this pardoning ceremony to the University again this year,” said Dr. Joseph Savoie, University of Louisiana at Lafayette president. “UL Lafayette is always happy to celebrate and support the state’s aquaculture industry. Seafood is vital to Louisiana’s economy. It’s culinarily essential. It’s culturally significant. And above all else – it’s just so good to eat!”

Following his pardoning, Emile was transported to Palmetto Island State Park outside Abbeville, Louisiana, where he was released to live out the rest of his days burrowing in the mud and making the state park his new home.