The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana will be holding its annual "Shell-A-Bration" at the Audubon Zoo's Cajun Ballroom in New Orleans. The event will take place on March 31 and will benefit the organization's Oyster Shell Recycling Program, through which nearly 13 million pounds of shell have been diverted from landfills and instead returned to the water along Louisiana's coast, where they become reefs that slow erosion.
The Shell-A-Bration will start at 7 p.m. and will include live music by Sweet Crude, local foods including Louisiana oysters, local brews, door prizes and a silent auction. There will also be numerous children's activities. Oysters will be provided by Louisiana Seafood, Robin's Oysters and Bayou Rosa Oyster Farm. Abita is donating beer, and many individuals and businesses have donated auction items.
"We're thrilled to bring our Shell-A-Bration to Audubon Zoo," said CRCL Development Director Donna Betzer. "This event doesn't just support our work to restore and protect Louisiana's coast. It's also just plain fun, and it gives people an easy way to play a role in the restoration of our coastal wetlands."
Tickets, which cover the cost of admission and food and drinks, are $75 per person, with $25 for children 2 to 12 years old.
The Oyster Shell Recycling Program, which the event will be benefiting, is one of the largest shell recycling programs in the nation. Through the program, New Orleans-area restaurants and two shell drop-off sites collect shells that otherwise would be sent to a landfill. The shells cure in the sun for several months, then are returned to the water by volunteers and community partners.
CRCL began the program in 2014, using the shells to build five reefs so far. Oyster reefs significantly slow the rate of coastal erosion, and they also create habitat for new oysters to grow, as well as habitat for other wildlife. Reefs also minimize storm surge during hurricanes. Due to these factors, they are invaluable to New Orleans and it's coastlines.
About 2,000 square miles of Louisiana's coastal wetlands have vanished in less than 100 years, threatening the state's communities, way of life, and economy. CRCL became the first statewide nonprofit dedicated to restoring Louisiana's coast when it incorporated in 1988. The group, which is a member of the Restore the Mississippi River Delta campaign, holds volunteer events throughout the year.
To learn more about the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana or to purchase tickets, please visit the organization's website.