Earl Gauthier is the owner of Earl’s Seafood Shack near the square in Downtown Abbeville. Earl’s empire depends on the family oyster beds in Vermilion Bay, handed down to him over five generations. Preserving the seafood shack and the oyster beds for future generations of Gauthiers is his overriding obsession.
Desperate for cash to maintain his empire, Earl married a Yankee with money — Corinne (née McGowen, whose daddy owned an Oldsmobile dealership in Laurel, Mississippi). The Gauthiers have three daughters of marriageable age: Marie, Odette and Clothilde. Louisiana’s laws of forced heirship require the bulk of the Gauthier estate be left to the daughters, none of whom can maintain the oyster beds. (The only male progeny, T’Earl, was tragically killed when he failed to maintain separation between his pickup and an 18-wheeler carrying a truckload of soap to the Wal-Mart on Highway 14.)
Enter on the scene one Matt Callais, a young lawyer from Crowley. Earl hopes that Marie will one day marry Matt, until the possibility arises that Matt may actually be an illegitimate son of Earl’s, and thus entitled to a full share of the estate under the law. Drama ensues.
We meet the rest of the Downtown Abbeville ensemble, the kitchen staff, the dishwashers, the shrimpsters and shucksters who help maintain the Gauthier empire.
- Carriere, the headwaiter at the Seafood Shack
- Begnaud, the kindly disbaled war vet with the shadowy past
- Theo, the untrustworthy oystershucker who claims disability after “accidentally” running his hand through with an oyster knife
- Annie, the sweet waitress with a quivering lip who develops a love interest with Begnaud
I hope this idea catches on with LPB. It’s sure to be a hit.