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Spill may doom venerable oyster businesses

Jun 10, 2010 6:23:00 PM - thestate.com

An early morning workday ritual – the shucking of small mountains of oysters for New Orleans restaurants – fell victim to the BP offshore oil spill Thursday at a 134-year-old French Quarter oyster house where neighbors treated the news like a death in the family.

Amid the din of nearly a dozen men and women hammering and prying at the last piles of craggy oyster shells at P&J Oyster Co., Jerry Amato wandered in bearing comfort food: aluminum trays full of scrambled eggs, fried ham, grits and biscuits.

“That’s what we do in New Orleans. After the funeral, we bring food,” said Amato, proprietor of Mother’s Restaurant.

P&J isn’t quite dead yet but, barring an unforeseen reopening of the oyster beds that supply the business, Thursday was to be the final day of shucking at the family owned business.