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NEW ORLEANS— In the back yard of his Metairie home, Al Scramuzza showed off the fruit trees he’s planted. He tends to the trees these days, but ask anyone in town and they’ll tell you that Scramuzza was the crawfish king.

At 92 years old and still pretty spunky, the father of our retail crawfish industry came from humble beginnings. Raised poor in the French Quarter, he told us that his family needed all the help they could get, to get by.

Scramuzza,”At night I’d go to the produce section when the trucks would pull in and I’d steal some okra (laughs) my mama would make a nice gumbo”

“Hope Haven, it was my foundation. it gave me a walkway in life and taught me everything that I know”, said Scramuzza of the time he and his brothers spent in a local youth facility.

Crawfish King Al Scramuzza talk to WGNO’s LBJ about the crawfish business (WGNO-TV)

What the world came to know was a man driven to succeed in business. He certainly wasn’t the first man to sell crawfish, but he decided to advertise and no one did it better.

Scramuzza recalled that his ad agent told him, “‘It’s your product, you go ahead and direct it, originate it, and anything you want to do’ so he let me go. Free handed do what you want to do and I’ll put it together, and I did, I really did what I wanted to do.

Al Scramuzza’s Seafood City commercial (WGNO-TV)

Scramuzza is the epitome of a life lived full. He dabbled in the record business and to this day helps to coach kids in sports.

We asked what would he have done, had it not been for the crawfish business.

“I don’t know what the hell I’d have done. God woulda had something for me to do and I had the will, free will to do anything I wanted to do,” said Scramuzza.