Crawfish boil in the French quarter. The French Quarter, also known as Vieux Carré, is the oldest and most famous neighborhood in the city of New Orleans. When New Orleans (La Nouvelle-Orléans in French) was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, the city was originally centered on the French Quarter, or the Vieux Carré ("Old Square" in French) as it was known then. While the area is still referred to as the Vieux Carré by some, it is more commonly known as the French Quarter today, or simply "The Quarter." The district as a whole is a National Historic Landmark, and contains numerous individual historic buildings. It was affected relatively lightly by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, as compared to other areas of the city and the region as a whole. The Quarter is subdistrict of the French Quarter/CBD Area.
Crayfish, crawfish, or crawdads – members of the superfamilies Astacoidea and Parastacoidea – are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters, to which they are related. Crawfish boils can be found across southern Louisiana. But it is the crawfish boil that is most closely associated with the region. The Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival has been named one of the top 10 food events by USA Today and is a showcase for Cajun music and culture. Major crawfish boils are held by churches and other organizations as fundraisers throughout the spring. Tulane University holds an annual "Crawfest" in April, and the University of New Orleans holds an annual crawfish boil for all students at the end of the spring semester. Smaller events can be found in backyards and parks throughout April, May, and June. Locals traditionally eat crawfish, as well as crabs, without tools such as shell crackers or picks.