Nice weather always inspires picnics along Bayou St. John, and a lot of those picnics now involve crawfish. This Saturday, March 31, a community crawfish boil serves as a fundraiser for a project aimed at fixing some important structures on the bayou.
The second annual Boilin' for the Bridges will see large quantities of spicy crawfish and cold beer dispatched as a benefit for Re-Bridge, a nonprofit formed to help rehab a pair of historic bayou bridges.
"Tons and tons of crawfish, Abita beer, and a lot of people getting together for a cause," says Rachel Dangermond, chair of the committee behind the Re-Bridge effort.
The group is out to restore the Magnolia Bridge, an ironwork span dating to the late 19th century that Re-Bridge members believe may be the oldest existing bridge in the city. Closed to traffic since the 1970s, the Magnolia Bridge is used for grassroots gatherings and commemorations and simply as a perch to enjoy views of the bayou. Re-Bridge also is working to restore the Dumaine bridge, a short roadway span built in 1951.
Both structures are suffering from neglect, and Re-Bridge is raising local dollars to match federal transportation funds for their repair awarded last year.
"This is a very important bridge not just to people in the neighborhood but to people all over the city," Dangermond says.
The boil is at the residence of a Re-Bridge supporter on Maurepas Street in the Faubourg St. John neighborhood, a few blocks from the bayou. Admission is $30 for adults, $5 for kids under 10. Get tickets and details at www.rebridge.org.