“It’s something I grew up doing for as long as I can remember,” Raymond says. “We’d catch our own shrimp, crawfish, and crab, and bring them home to boil or fry.”
While seafood catching and cooking was a year-round event for Raymond growing up, he says some of his best memories are Easter backyard boils. “Easter Sunday crawfish boils are a huge tradition in New Orleans. That’s when everybody breaks out their boiling gear and starts to cook – crawfish is just coming into season around then,” he says. “You better reserve your crawfish a few weeks in advance or you’re not getting ’em on Easter.”
These days Raymond gathers family and friends at his new cabin home here in Chattanooga. With nearly 30 guests at this first-of-fall boil, it’s a festive day spent making new shrimp-filled memories. His dad came in from New Orleans with shrimp on ice fresh off the trawl boat, and his wife, Sondra, spent time making sure every detail – from the fresh sunflowers to the checked tablerunner – was perfectly appointed.
Feel inspired to host a boil of your own? Read on for Raymond’s recipe and tips!