Jeannette Vaught deposited Pageants, Po’ Boys, and Pork on a Stick: Documenting the Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival in the group Animal Studies on Humanities Commons 4 months ago
This photoessay documents the 82nd Annual Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival, which took place in Morgan City, Louisiana over Labor Day weekend in 2018. It contains photographs of the festival, including images of pageant queens, food vendors, and the Blessing of the Fleet. The essay documents the authors’ experience of the festival, and chronicles its long history from its origins as a shrimping industry labor festival to its current status as a major component of the statewide Louisiana harvest festival and pageant circuit. Oral histories and interviews with shrimpers, oil boat owners, festival employees, and pageant queens are featured. The article considers the dominance of the Gulf oil industry and its impact on other Gulf industries, the impact that the decline of shrimping in St. Mary Parish has had on Vietnamese shrimping communities, the gendered and classed performances of the festival’s pageant, and the historic divisions along race and class lines in coastal Louisiana that the festival both reveals and helps to heal. The article includes an analysis of the connections between food and oil, and how the food for sale at the festival challenged embedded stereotypes of southern and Louisianan cuisine.