Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Catahoula Carnivore

Some time ago a sign was posted in Jonesville, Louisiana that read "Warning. Avoid Buildings Containing Big Bite Marks." The word "big" was hypobole. The holes left from the bites were big enough to drive a truck through. Many believed that the creature doing the biting was after restaurants that served fish. In Louisiana that was all restaurants. But the bites soon appeared on sheds, barns, and even homes. First, people stopped eating out much. Then going out much.

It was true that the bites were because of a restaurant. About a year prior to all this, Grill Hut had posted a new sign in their driveway which read "New Grilled Gumbo Fishwich." The key ingredient was an unrivaled deep-fried spiced-crappie patty. Within a few months, this delicacy was drawing clientele from all over the southeast. Grill Hut couldn't keep their crappie supply stocked and every day by noon a"No More Crappy" sign would be visible in the driveway. It became clear that more fish were necessary and soon the sign read: "Crappy Bought Here, 1$ each." Within days locals were skipping work and swarming the rivers and streams throughout the entire region. A day on the stream was not only more fun than a day at the job site but generally more lucrative too. Even the dentist managed to rationalize that he could make more money fishing.

Within 2 weeks no one could pull another crappie out of a Catahoula stretch of water and the rush ended. Grill Hut was on top of their crappie patty orders and all seemed well until the next morning when the sign read "Closed for repair." As disappointed diners crowded the restaurant it was soon discovered that the entire back side of Grill Hut had been chewed off. The next night a nearby grocery store received a giant bite in the freezer section and the fish and chips wagon parked on main street was gone without a trace. Every morning new bites appeared and every night the creature vanished without a trace. Tension mounted for 6 months until the crappie population recovered and then the bite marks ceased altogether.

There is a sign in the drive at the Grill Hut reminding locals and visitors alike of a strict Catahoula law. It reads: "Catching Crappy is a Crime in Catahoula County."

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