TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Crawfish Boils & Mudbug Races



Anyone who tells you crawfish taste like lobster is wrong. Crawfish tastes better and if you ever lived in the bayou areas of southern Louisiana you would probably agree with me.

Outsiders to life in the swamps might look at this picture and think, “I would never eat that!” But if you come from a poor family and wonder a lot where you next meal is gonna come from, that plate represents some tasty times in the Lavergne family while I was growing up.

There was a small creek cutting through the back yard of a house I lived in as a child and after a heavy rain, I would run out back with my siblings to check for crawfish holes. Those crafty mudbugs would bury themselves deep into the wet ground and there were only two ways to get them out. One was by tying something like a small piece of bread to the end of a string before lowering it into the crawdad hole. If you were lucky, a crawfish would clamp down on the bread with one of it’s claws and you could pull them out of the hole. Crawfish are ornery critters and almost always refuse to let go once they’ve latched onto something.

The other way (one I NEVER chose to join in on) was to walk barefoot through that creek and hope a crawfish would find one of your toes appealing enough to clamp onto it! I use to watch my brother and sisters walk the creek trying to catch crawfish but was never foolish enough to try it myself!

Every so often my father would bring home huge bags of crawfish for the family. I’m not sure if he bought them, trapped them himself, or if they were a gift from someone taking pity on us. No matter…it was three hundred pounds of instant fun for us.

For racing, I would pick whichever one seemed to be crawling around the fastest and then pit it against my siblings’ choices. For fighting, the champion would be the one with the largest pinchers. Either way, they all eventually ended up in a large cauldron of boiling water flavored with crawfish boil seasonings, new potatoes and corn on the cob.

Then there would be a mad dash to cover our dining room table with multiple layers of newspapers as Mother began dumping pan after pan of delicious crawfish onto the papers and everyone could eat their fill. Tails were pulled from whatever was left over and put in the freezer for later. Many a night Mother would watch her TV shows while cracking open the shells until her fingers bled just so her children could have food for another day.

I didn’t realize the sacrifices my mother made back then but I do now. There aren’t many crawfish holes around the hills of Tennessee but whenever I do get the chance to enjoy some crawfish, I always remember the wonderful crawfish boils made possible by a parent doing everything she could to keep her children fed.

Thanks, Mom.




HM Hunting Gris-Gris Epub cover


Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known events. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in book three of HISTORY’S MYSTERIES.

Eleven-year-old Emma misses her father who’s serving in Europe during World War II. He leaves behind a treasure box with six compartments to be opened during her birthday week. He also tells her to watch for the gris-gris while he is gone. Looking out for swamp creatures and dealing with wartime rationing is hard enough, but now there’s a British refugee staying at the house! How will Emma enjoy her birthday and keep her decision to hunt the gris-gris a secret with a stranger following her around?




donna - Copy


Best-selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Donna L

Hybrid award winning author; aspiring sketch artist; and 4th Degree Senior Certified Taekwondo Instructor. Host of BOOK NOOK REVIEWS. Member of SCBWI. Mom to fabulous son and adventurer delving into the tricky world of indie-publishing.

6 thoughts on “TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Crawfish Boils & Mudbug Races

  • July 27, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    Sometimes chunks of smoked sausage were also added to the pot. Loved those meals. My friend used to make crawfish pie and bring some to me at work. Emeril Lagasse served a crawfish boil to Julia Child and included artichokes in the pot. There’s a butcher who has a Youtube channel that I watch. He is in England and he has gone crawfishing in a stream in the woods near his home. When he does crawfish boils, he puts taters, corn, smoked sausage, seasonings, and crawfish in the pot. Nothing fancy and he calls it a Cajun crawfish boil–not crayfish. A Youtuber in Norway calls it crayfish and adds dried fish and other things in his recipe. When we do make it back to Louisiana, we have got to invite ourselves to somebody’s proper crawfish boil!

    • July 27, 2020 at 7:28 pm

      Unfortunately Emeril is NOT Cajun or he wouldn’t taint that pot with anything other than the true ingredients…;0)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

  • July 27, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    Never had crawfish but it sounds delish. Loved your post.

    • July 27, 2020 at 8:24 pm

      Hi Christy and welcome to my blog! Crawfish boils was one of my favorite things growing up. THAT and boudin, but that’s a topic of another tale…;-) You might want to check out some of my other bayou stories…

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

  • November 17, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    I will be going through New Orleans next year and plan to have a crawfish boil. Great post.

    • November 17, 2020 at 5:42 pm

      Hi Geri!

      Thank you for your kind words! As you read, crawfish boils were a regular thing at our house…;)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!


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