Two marine biologists working triangular cages used in raising the baby oysters, known as spat.
Poppy Tooker

On this week's Louisiana Eats! we venture down to Grand Isle to explore the current state of Louisiana's shellfish industry.

Deyan Georgiev / Shutterstock.com

The oyster population along the Gulf Coast is dropping dramatically.

Thousands of beds are producing less than a third of the crop recorded before the BP oil spill four years ago.

Experts are now studying whether the spill is connected to the spill.

Oysters had been in trouble before the spill. They had been hit by hurricanes, overfishing and two straight years of damaging fresh water.

Ian McNulty

Start with a pile of fresh oysters and you don't need much more to make a party. That's part of the inspiration for a new event coming up this weekend in New Orleans.

Confronted with the crazy abundance of oysters in coastal Louisiana, we have come up with countless ways to prepare them.

Louisiana health officials say they are reopening some oyster harvest areas where the threat of flooding from Tropical Storm Karen has diminished.

Louisiana harvest areas 13 to 23 will open Sunday morning. They were among the areas ordered closed because of the possibility of contamination from flood waters.

Saturday's announcement said a precautionary closure of oyster harvest areas one through 12 would remain in effect until health officials determine the waters meet standards set by the National Shellfish Sanitation Program.

Ian McNulty

Cocktail sauce and crackers are great, but New Orleans chefs are getting more creative with how they dress up raw oysters, offering new alternatives for the beloved local bivalve. 

Eve Troeh / WWNO

Ground crews poured sand around the festival lawns and walkways this morning.

The Fair Grounds were already muddy even before the rain started around noon.

Thursday is known as locals' day, and veteran festival goers had ponchos, umbrellas and rain boots ready to go.

WWNO’s Poppy Tooker, host of Louisiana Eats!, was at the Food and Heritage stage, cooking gumbo for one of the day’s demonstrations. The kitchen is at the far end of the Grandstands, the inside portion of the festival.

Louisiana's health department has recalled oysters from one Cameron Parish harvest area and has closed it to shellfish harvesting because nine people got stomach illness after eating oysters gathered there.

The Department of Health and Hospitals order Friday recalls all oysters harvested in West Cove off of south Calcasieu Lake since Dec. 28, including shucked, frozen, breaded, post-harvest processed and oysters for the half shell market.