Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, along with the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, granted an official pardon to Arrigeaux (uh-REE-go) the Crawfish during the Sixth Annual Pardoning of the Crawfish event. “The Green” at Perkins Rowe in Baton Rouge played host to this year’s event, which is uniquely Louisiana. Started in 2017 by Lt. Governor Nungesser and held on the first Tuesday following Mardi Gras, this annual pardoning celebrates crawfish season in Louisiana and across the Gulf South.
“Crawfish is one of our signature dishes here in Louisiana. Additionally, we have some of the best seafood in the entire world along our coast and in our waterways. There is no better way to Feed Your Soul than by taking a trip to Louisiana and tasting some of the best seafood dishes you will ever eat,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “And, there is no better way to celebrate our culinary heritage than by granting one lucky crustacean his freedom as crawfish season ramps up and he ends up on a restaurant or backyard table. In true Louisiana fashion, we are doing just that today with a party complete with music, food, family, and friends.”
The lucky crustacean is named Arrigeaux in honor of retiring Visit Baton Rouge President & CEO Paul Arrigo (uh-REE-go).
Paul Arrigo, a New Orleans native and graduate of the University of New Orleans, got his start in the tourism industry with the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. Following a brief stint overseeing a satellite office for the New Orleans CVB in Washington, D.C, he relocated to Baton Rouge in 1997 and eventually became President and CEO of Visit Baton Rouge in 2002. After two decades in that role, he will step down in September of this year. During Arrigo’s twenty years at the helm of Visit Baton Rouge, the Capital City has seen exponential growth in visitation numbers and visitor spending, putting Baton Rouge on the map as a tourist and convention destination.
“Kuddos to the Lt. Governor for his marketing efforts in promoting the great assets of this great state, tourism, and our bountiful seafood! I am so happy that this event will be held in Baton Rouge, during the 50th anniversary of Visit Baton Rouge as a Destination Marketing Organization,” said Paul Arrigo, Visit Baton Rouge President & CEO. “It is humbling and an absolute honor to have my namesake, Arrigeaux, freed to continue his journey in the bountiful waters of Louisiana!”
In keeping with tradition, Barry Toups, owner of Crawfish Haven and Mrs. Rose’s Bed & Breakfast in Kaplan, caught and selected the guest of honor for his reprieve. Arrigeaux the Crawfish was then transported to Perkins Rowe where he was the king of his own procession to his regal habitat. Lt. Governor Nungesser bestowed the official pardon upon Arrigeaux, delivering an official proclamation to Visit Baton Rouge, Perkins Rowe, and the City-Parish government to mark the event.
Following his pardoning, the Louisiana Office of State Parks transported Arrigeaux to Tickfaw State Park in Springfield, Louisiana, where he will live out the rest of his days burrowing in the mud, swimming in the bayou, and making the state park his new home.