Of swamps and sausage

by Lawrence Aylward
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Crescent City Meat Co. in New Orleans saw sales of its alligator and pork sausage soar after an appearance on Shark Tank
The owner of Crescent City Meat Co. is astounded by a reality show's impact on his business.

NEW ORLEANS – Jerry Hanford calls “Swamp People” a goofy show. But Hanford, the owner and president of Crescent City Meat Co. in New Orleans, says the show has been a boon for his business. Crescent City processes sausage, pickled meats and other items.

“Swamp People” is an American reality series in its sixth season on the History channel. The show follows the day-to-day activities of Louisiana natives living in the swamps of the Atchafalaya River Basin who hunt alligators for a living. “Swamp People” has been criticized for making deep Southerners appear as rednecks and hillbillies.

“The show is embarrassing to me because that’s not us…that’s not what [the people of] New Orleans are about,” Hanford says. “That’s [the people] of the backwoods of Louisiana.”

But Hanford is astounded at the impact that the popularity of “Swamp People” and other shows like it, including “Duck Dynasty,” have had on the company’s sales of alligator sausage. Crescent City, a USDA-inspected plant with distribution throughout the country, debuted alligator sausage about 26 years ago as a “novelty product,” Hanford says
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“Alligator was cheap, and we wanted to try it,” he explains. “And then ‘Swamp People’ comes along, and now we can’t keep it in stock anymore. Alligator sausage is our No. 1-selling product.”

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