July 31, 2002 - "Crawfish Motels"

It's a vanishing piece of Americana, the backyard artisan making crab traps by hand, but one of these treasures is in Assumption Parish.

Elwood Metrejean bends, cuts and twists the wire mesh on his work bench. "I just wanted to learn how to make them. It's a lot of work, oh, Lord!."

Elwood is a fisherman and a craftsman. He learned the ways of the bayou as a kid and still loves the life. He celebrates the lifestyle in his own way, with his hands. Elwood hand makes the crab traps he uses to catch dinner. He wraps the wire around the steel pipe which supports the roof of his porch workshop. State-of-the-art technique involves molding stiff wire mesh around whatever works.

Elwood's crawfish traps are legend in these parts. He builds them to sell, calls them crawfish motels. The mudbugs check in, but they never check out. He's not sure he can offer the same guarantee on the crab traps. Like he says, he just builds those for the love of it and dinner. "Just for me," he says, "for my own use. You never know. If I get to where I learn how to make them, I just might go ahead and continue making some." And that would be the crab's worst nightmare.