Celebrating shrimp, sausage, and strawberries with Louisiana’s pageant queens

Every year, Louisiana hosts a bevy of flashy pageants, each celebrating a homegrown industry, and each ending with the crowning of a queen. That’s why the world gets a “Miss Oyster,” a “Miss Ponchatoula Strawberry,” and a “Miss Shrimp and Petroleum.” But as The New York Times reports, these are no mere figureheads. These women are expected to be experts in their specified field, leading to wonderful story lines like: “To be competitive in her pageant, Ms. Hanks had to learn the hard facts of sausage making.” The piece also notes how important these pageants are for flagging morale in some struggling industries.

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