Jeff Davis Parish in Southwest Louisiana offers wonderful Southern hospitality in a charming small town atmosphere.
It’s where I finally learned how to eat a crawfish properly. I had always peeled the body of the crawfish and been puzzled as to why there was no meat on it. I was doing this same technique at a recent crawfish boil in the Jeff Davis Parish when a young boy looked over at me and quickly asked if I wanted him to show me how to peel them correctly. I certainly did and in just a few seconds this young boy had me eating crawfish like a native Louisianan.
You snap off the tail and then peel it much like you would a shrimp. Here, you will find the must succulent and tasty treat. Who knew the meat wasn’t even in the body of the crawfish? I was excited to find this out and quickly ate a huge pile of crawfish.
A trip to Southwest Louisiana is a great place to go on a crawfish farm tour. They are offered January through May of each year, which is the harvesting season. Visitors are able to experience the habitat of the crawfish and see how they are harvested, weighed and then distributed. Our tour ended with the best part of all, the consumption of the wonderful crawfish.
We visited the Tieje Crawfish Farm in Jennings where we stood along a dock overlooking the pond and listed as Burt Tieje told how his operation works. He is a wealth of knowledge with pond ecology and the harvesting process among the topics covered.
Next up, we went to the I-10 Crawfish Cooperative where we learned about the marketing of the crawfish. We saw demonstrations of the cleaning, grading and distribution process.
After that, we went to the Tieje barn for an old-fashioned crawfish boil complete with a band that featured a gentleman playing the washboard. It was a delight.
To arrange a tour, call the Jeff Davis Parish Tourist Office at 337-821-5534.
In the Jeff Davis Parish, you will also find a first-class museum with many wonderful treasures, as well as a complete country museum. The Zigler Museum is located at 411 Clara Street in Jennings. It was created in the early 1960s by the late Mrs. Ruth B. Zigler, who donated the property that had been the family home since 1908. The collection includes a fine art collection by European and American artists.
While in Jennings, be sure and pick up some products made by The Southern Company, formed in Jennings in 1957 when a grocer decided to bottle his wife’s barbecue sauce and sell in his store. Southern Bar-B-Que Sauce has been a favorite of locals and visitors alike since that time. The line has been expanded to seasonings, seafood boils and much more. For more information, go to www.southernbbqsauce.com.
Another treat from the Jeff Davis Parish is Hoppe Farms Jasmine Rice, a specialty aromatic rice produced by Jimmy and Brenda Hoppe, who have been rice producers for 40 years. The Jasmine Rice is a long grain aromatic rice with a fragrant corn or nut-like aroma and flavor. For more information, call 337-756-2259. A price list and order forms are available.
These are just a few of the things to do while visiting the Jeff Davis Parish. Mardi Gras tours, festivals, birding and outdoor activities are just a few other options. For more information or assistance in planning your trip, contact the Jeff Davis Parish Tourist Commission, 1-800-264-5521, www.jeffdavis.org.
Angela Gary is an editor with MainStreet Newspapers Inc. She can be reached at AngieEditor@aol.com.