Alongside tourism, seafood is one of Louisiana's most famous industries. Before the spill, it was bringing in billions of dollars to the economy, and had finally managed to recover in the wake of Katrina. In New Orleans, the city's famed seafood and dining scene is a major draw for tourists as well. To get a unique perspective of how the gulf spill is impacting seafood and dining, I headed to the Southern-French restaurant Herbsaint. There, the chef de cuisine Ryan Prewitt discussed the problems the spill presents for Louisiana seafood.
First off, Prewitt noted that there has been relatively little actual impact on the industry so far -- some prices have risen, and there's been a spreading sense of concern among consumers, but for the most part, it's been business as usual. The restaurant was pretty full for lunch last Friday when we sat down to talk. Without further ado, here's Prewitt on a few key ways that the gulf oil crisis will or already has impacted Louisiana seafood and the dining scene -- and what will happen if the worst comes.
On Difficulty Finding Fishermen:
Prices of fish are rising as fishermen abandon their fishing duties to work for BP, Prewitt says:
On Public Perception:
After Katrina, it took a mighty campaign to brand Louisiana seafood as top quality stuff -- the gulf spill will certainly mar those efforts:
On the Worst Case Scenario:
On Why He'd Like to See Less Offshore Drilling:
Prewitt also touched on a concern about the chemical dispersants, and said that they'd be watching closely for any signs that those were impacting seafood.