There’s no festival like the Shrimp and Petroleum festival


Graphic by Jessica Mouton

The Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival has been a yearly tradition since 1936, honoring two major local industries. This is the oldest state-chartered harvest festival in Louisiana. The free, five-day event is located in downtown Morgan City and hosts live music, food, arts and crafts and many more activities. 

It began when Morgan City received its first load of jumbo shrimp from a small shrimping boat. 

Members of the Gulf Coast Seafood and Trappers Association shared their talents and gave demonstrations in honor of the event. There was a local celebration, and the rest was history. One year later, the very first Blessing of the Fleet was performed. 

In 1967, oil was recognized in the festival, as the petroleum industry had greatly taken off in the area. Attendees of the festival can witness a parade of shrimp boats and the annual Blessing of the Fleet. 

Food-wise, there are several food stands offering a variety of food items—most importantly, an array of shrimp dishes. 

This past weekend, the 84th celebration, had an art show and sale, carnival rides and games, children’s day activities, a children’s parade, a car show, a 5K fun run, mass under the oaks in Lawrence Park, a street parade and the Blessing of the Fleet.

There was free music offered at the Heritage Music Stage. The lineup included artists such as Travis Matte & the Kingpins, Horace Trahan and the Ossun Express, Blue Eyed Soul Revue, and Category 6.

Festivals like the Morgan City Shrimp and Petroleum Festival play a crucial role in keeping our culture alive. We have the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, Lafayette’s Festival International, Gretna Heritage Festival and many more introducing old traditions to younger generations. 

It is paramount that our local customs get introduced to the youth, otherwise, they would eventually be lost forever. These festivals introduce local music, art, food and crafts to its visitors. 

With all it has to offer, the Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival plays a vital role in keeping the culture alive.