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The history of Morgan City's Shrimp and Petroleum Festival - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

The history of Morgan City's Shrimp and Petroleum Festival

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MORGAN CITY, La. -

Shrimp and petroleum are two resources vital to Morgan City's history and growth. Monday the city celebrated that history during their annual Shrimp and Petroleum festival.

More than a 100,000 people attend the annual festival each year. “We go through abut 10 or 15 pounds of shrimp a day,” Clayton Baker, a food vendor said.

 “The demand for shrimp is ridiculous. It is the shrimp and petroleum festival . That’s what people want to eat is shrimp. It's all about shrimp.” There's a bigger story behind the festival it’s a festival that pays homage to the city's history.

81 years ago the port of Morgan City received its first boatload of jumbo shrimp. It was transported in a small boat. 

“We were known as the jumbo shrimp capital of the world,” Darby Isham, Director for festival said.

Later the petroleum industry made its mark on the region and was added to the festival's name.

Since then both industries have battled hardships. “In 1967 we had these big oil companies that moved in,” Isham said. “Now you're lucky to find someone who hasn't been affected by the oil field.”

She added, “there's been a lot of importing from overseas and that’s put a damper on the shrimp industry in the area. It’s harder for people to make a living on shrimping.”

Those troubles haven't put a damper on the festival and its rich history. Nearly 100,000 people visit the festival every year.

“It get’s a lot of people from not around here to come and see what Morgan City has to offer,” festival goer Sam Guarisco said.

Plenty of shrimp could also be found around the festival. Shrimp is cooked anyway you want it.

“We are all about celebrating the history and heritage of our ancestors. Its a way to remember where we've come from,” Isham said. 

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