METAIRIE,La.(WGNO)— Seafood remains a staple in southern Louisiana, especially during the holidays, but some delicacies are becoming scarce.
Shoppers at Westwego Shrimp Lot are getting ready to prepare their Christmas menus.
“I got snow crabs, and I’m going to make gumbo. I’m going to fry shrimp, I’m going to sauté shrimp, I’m going to do crab boils, so this is my holiday for Christmas. I am prepared,” said Van Williams, who is visiting New Orleans from Los Angeles.
Shrimp and crabs are plentiful, but one restaurant owner in Metairie says many factors, including a labor shortage and natural causes, are affecting their oyster supply.
“They’re difficult to get right now. It’s difficult to go farm, and they have all these other issues that they’re dealing with, whether it was post-hurricane issues that we’re dealing with, whether it’s the freshwater diversion, which is a big problem that oysters are having,” said Dragos’s Seafood Restaurant owner Tommy Cvitanovich.
Those dining in who want to get their hands on some oysters can still do so, but it’s going to cost.
“We’re paying, probably, in the 80-dollar-gallon range for a five-pound gallon,” said Cvitanovich. “That’s putting oysters at $16 a pound just for the meat. I mean, that’s the price of prime filet.”
Cvitanovich says customers may see a price increase on their menu or extra oysters on the plate to accommodate the size, but he’s hoping prices will go back down once the gulf coast oyster beds replenish themselves.
“They’re resilient, and they come back,” explained Cvitanovich. “They’ve come back after the oil spill, they’ve come back after storms.”