Order a catfish po-boy or a few pounds of crawfish in Acadiana any Friday between Mardi Gras and Easter, and you may be surprised to learn that your delight is another person’s sacrifice. The Catholic tradition of abstaining from meat during Fridays in Lent is alive and well in Southwest Louisiana, a region where more than a third identify as Catholic. Thanks to the long list of Catholic churches and restaurants that roll out an array of delectable seafood options on Lenten Fridays, it’s not much of a burden. St. Francis of Assisi in Breaux Bridge and the Knights of Columbus Council at St. Pius X in Lafayette both have long-standing Lenten fish fry traditions that bring together their communities and welcome anyone hungry for fried catfish, regardless of religion. Olde Tyme Grocery in Lafayette sells close to 2,300 seafood po-boys during the 40-day period. Religious abstinence never tasted so good.
This episode of Gravy is reported and produced by Sarah Holtz.