If you don’t know what shrimp boots are, you aren’t from Louisiana. All hail the shrimp boot!
Shrimp boots are white rubber boots that shrimpers wear when they are out on their boats. Actually, they wear them more often than that. I wouldn’t say that shrimp boots can accompany formal wear, but they can be worn in most any other occasion outside a wedding and nobody will bat an eye.
Claude V. Harold and his brother got into the rubber manufacturing business in 1927. The company’s current address is 4431 Euprhosine Street, a perfectly named New Orleans street if there ever was one in a fairly inaccessible industrial part of the Crescent City. It isn’t an overstatement to say that few casual tourists ever glimpse the iconic shrimp boot sign over the factory’s front door.
According to Pro-Tect-O Products: “The company [C.V. Harold] is still best known for fabricating higher-end rubber and metal hoses for the marine construction, petrochemical and shipbuilding industries. However, its niche continues to grow. Today it includes hydraulics, couplings and fittings, expansion joints (rubber and metal), gloves, footwear, rubber rain suits, fire hose and accessories, nozzles, reels, monitors and gaskets in any kind of rubber or metal.”
The company makes all sorts of things, but around New Orleans, because of the sign, they are known for their shrimp boots. All hail the shrimp boot!
The shrimp boot is, of course, the symbol of the Cajun Navy. The Cajun Navy is the flotilla of volunteers that come out after a flooding disaster and take care of saving lives and property before the regular authorities can get organized. Their most recent mission was this past summer when floods occurred on the other side of Lake Pontchartrain.
Louisiana is justly proud of its Cajun Navy, just as it is of its distinctive footwear.
There is a shop in the French Quarter that sells shrimp boots. Who in the Quarter is buying shrimp boots, I have no idea. Everyone I know buys them at Walmart or at Academy Sporting Goods. The price is similar wherever you go. You can’t put a price on a good pair of shrimp boots.
By the way, what does Euphrosine Street mean anyway? In Greek mythology, she was one of the Three Graces, the one representing joy and mirth. On what other street did you expect to find a shrimp boot factory?
À votre santé,
La Belle Esplanade
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Sunday, November 27, 2017: All hail the shrimp boot!