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    Louisiana Shrimp Season Opens with Traditional Blessing

    METAIRIE, La. --The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board (LSPMB) here is hosting a Grand Blessing of its shrimping fleet this morning at Jackson Square in honor of those fishing communities devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

    METAIRIE, La. --The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board (LSPMB) here is hosting a Grand Blessing of its shrimping fleet this morning at Jackson Square in honor of those fishing communities devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

    Lake Pontchartrain shrimpers are towing in a 29-foot inshore shrimp boat for the festivities, which honor the many shrimpers who are braving uncertain waters as the spring brown shrimp season opens statewide this month. The blessing recreates a centuries-old tradition, as participants will pray for the shrimpers and their safe and prosperous season.

    "Louisiana shrimp is linked to our unique culture -- not only as part of our world renowned cuisine, but also as part of our way of life," said LSPMB executive director Ewell Smith. "For generations, there have been Blessings in coastal communities in celebration of the opening of shrimp season. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we keep this tradition alive."

    The Grand Blessing is part of LSPMB's Bonne Crevette celebration, an effort to promote the sale of Louisiana shrimp and preserve the state's rich culture.

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