NEW ORLEANS -- This year, some Thanksgiving tables may look a bit different after the massive oil spill in the Gulf. Oyster dressing is a staple for many, so, will it be hard to find the main ingredient? And how much will they cost?
At the Westwego seafood market, there was plenty of gulf shrimp for sale Tuesday, with fish, crabs and crab meat to go along with it. And to the surprise of many shoppers, some stalls were selling oysters, both shucked and whole.
“We were at a restaurant Friday night and there was no oysters. So, very surprised there's oysters out here,” said Linda Cooper, a Gentilly resident making her way through the market for her Thanksgiving ingredients.
The Westwego seafood market was busy Tuesday, but vendors say this time of year, they should see twice this much traffic.
Last year, you could hear the slap of the hammer on hundreds of oyster shells from a block down, but Tuesday, at P&J's Oyster House in the French Quarter, it was quiet.
“Normally we have lists of people, individuals, families that have come here for generations, come here and get their regular oysters for their dressing, their soups,” said Al Sunseri, co-owner of P&J’s.
Thanksgiving is typically one of his busiest times of year, but because of a lack of Louisiana gulf oysters, he's only selling small sacks of un-shucked Louisiana and Texas oysters.
“I've been here 31 years and I'm having to tell cousins, friends, friends of my father's, grandparents, I'm sorry. We're not gonna have shucked oysters for you,” Sunseri said.
This year, people can find them at the one place they normally shop for turkey. That is, at grocery stores.
“We’ve been in contact with our local suppliers, Motivatit Seafood out of Houma, about the situation, and there was always uncertainty. We've just stayed in touch with them. And told ‘em the second they were ready to go and had any to buy, we were ready to buy ‘em,” said Tim Acosta, marketing director of Rouses.
So far, Rouses said they have sold more than 10,000 pounds of Louisiana oysters, just in the past few weeks.
“Luckily today, two days before Thanksgiving, we just had another shipment of oysters come in. So, all of our stores are packed full and ready for business tomorrow,” Acosta said.
It goes to show, despite hurricanes, an oil spill, and a recession, there's plenty to be thankful for this year.
Because for many, Thanksgiving without seafood, “It wouldn't be the same," Cooper said.
Oysters are costing about 30 percent more this year.