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Crawfish Mambo 

  You know you're in a respectable south Louisiana hardware store when beside the hammers and paintbrushes, you can find propane burner rings, large stockpots and wooden paddles — all tools of the trade for the serious crawfish boiler.

  In the same spirit that some approach the barbecue smoker, others around the region are fanatical about crawfish and they have their methodologies worked down to some unique cross between science and ritual. On Saturday, a new event called Crawfish Mambo is putting this passion on display with a competitive boil and inviting the public to feast on the results.

  This inaugural Crawfish Mambo, scheduled for 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, May 12, rain or shine, is a benefit for the University of New Orleans Alumni Association, and it will be held on the UNO Lakefront Campus.

  Spokesman Jeffery Ory says teams based around restaurants, bars and even law firms have all stepped up to participate, with each team agreeing to boil a minimum of 10 sacks of crawfish. At an average weight of between 30 and 40 pounds per sack, there's bound to be a lot of crawfish, and while official judges will determine the festival winners, the public gets to have all they want of the various entries. The festival provides the crawfish, and seasonings, sides and extras are up to the discretion of the teams.   Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the gate, and beer and other beverages will be for sale around the grounds. Six musical performers are scheduled throughout the day, including Paul Sanchez, Rockin' Dopsie Jr. and Bonerama. The deadline for team registration is Wednesday, May 9. Visit www. for details.

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