Cotton’s Seafood: A Cajun autobiographical cookbook

Published 8:19 am Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Add some mashed pecans to your drip pot and brew up a batch of Cotton’s Pecan Coffee.
Then sit down and read a tale of love of the land, the family and what goes into and comes out of a good Cajun kitchen. You can be warm while you read about the cold pre-dawn boat runs Jim LaBove shares in “Cotton’s Seafood: A Cajun Autobiographical Cookbook.
He grew up in Sabine Pass helping his father, Cotton, with the seafood business. The family ate shrimp, crab, fish and oysters and sold seafood, too. But the hard part – and the adventurous part – was getting it all out of the waters. Thanks goodness they did.
Note that you can meet Jim in person, as the family will be selling the book at the Cajun Heritage Festival, April 8, in Port Arthur. See information in the next section of this column.
“We’re thrilled to be celebrating Port Arthur’s rich history of Cajun culture at this year’s Cajun Heritage Fest,” Jim LaBove said. “Our book offerings also aim to put a light on the unique regional experiences of Cajuns in our area, and we couldn’t think of a more perfect venue to share those stories. Thank you to the Southeast Texas Arts Council for putting on the event, and we can’t wait to see everyone there. Just don’t get between us and the crawfish!”
LaBove was his mother Cora’s chief assistant in the kitchen and has shared recipes including Cotton’s Oyster Stew on Steroids, Cora’s Pickling Juice, Cotton’s Blue Smoked Crabs and Shrimp Jambalaya. He also shares his wife Dodie’s Red Sauce, which is loaded with horseradish and lime juice. She was a New Orleans Saints cheerleader, and there’s a photo to prove it.
Respect for this way of life and Cotton himself runs as a theme. I particularly will remember reading how Cotton insisted bags of oysters be lowered gently to the ground, not dropped, so shells would remain closed and not lose their important juices.
I thoroughly enjoyed meeting James LaBove, Jim’s son, who is promoting the book. You can tell he’s inherited the love of cooking, history and the story telling of it all. The book includes Jim’s drawings of local birds, sea creatures and other wildlife. In fact, there’s another book about the art. For information, visit
Cajun Heritage Fest set for April 8
Hey Port Arthur, who’s ready for crawfish and a fais do do?
The Cajun Heritage Fest 2017 will be a festive party on April 8. Jamie Bergeron and the Kickin’ Cajuns are returning to headline the show and Travis Matte and the Kingpins and Grammy Award winning Jo-El Sonnier will also perform. The Fest will be at the Carl A. Parker Multipurpose Center, 1800 Lakeshore Drive, on the campus of Lamar State College-Port Arthur.
And guess what? “Cotton’s Seafood,” Jim LaBove’s Cajun autobiographical cookbook, will be for sale at the festival. He’s also got a book of his drawings.
What’s to eat? Groves Knights of Columbus will bring jambalaya and cheese-stuffed boudain. Tee Nah Nah’s Cajun Cooking will bring the crawfish.
Eat some crawfish, race some crawfish and enter the accordion contest. Sign up at the website Advance tickets are available at Museum of the Gulf Coast in downtown Port Arthur. The  Southeast Texas Arts Council and Cajun Sounds Internet Radio will present this event. Hampton Inn & Suites of Port Arthur is the host hotel, so get the relatives to come into town for this one.

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