The Crawfish Boil would have marked its 35th anniversary this year.
The Crawfish Boil would have marked its 35th anniversary this year.

The COVID-19 pandemic put a halt on all campus events at least until the end of May. Some of these events have deep histories, including the Crawfish Boil, which would have marked its 35th year. 

The Student Activities Board and Red Barn Alumni Association were scheduled to host the event in the George Howe Red Barn today, April 17. In lieu of celebrating one of the longest-running traditional events on UofL’s campus in person, we’ll take a quick look at the event’s history, courtesy of SAB. 

The first Crawfish Boil at UofL was held in 1986 through the Student Activities Board Adults on Campus committee. Charlotte Hardin, formerly Bowen, was a committee member at that time. Her father, Dr. Bill Bowen, was a surgeon in Columbia, South Carolina, and had a hobby of raising crawfish in plains between Columbia and Charleston. Charlotte first brought the idea of a Crawfish Boil to light.

At her request, Dr. Bowen flew several hundred pounds of live crawfish to Louisville that year, and the first Crawfish Boil was underway. Dave Baugh, UofL’s director of financial systems, agreed to cook the crawfish that year and has been the master chef of the Crawfish Boil for each of its installments since.

Since 1986, the Crawfish Boil has become a staple event at the Red Barn, not only providing an opportunity for people to get together on a spring day, but also to raise money for student scholarships. All proceeds from the event go back toward Red Barn scholarships and the RBAA. 

Every year, George Howe steps in to help SAB and the RBAA plan this tremendous event, and without his help, it would not be possible to maintain the level of quality this event garners. Until next year, Cards! 

Alicia Kelso
Alicia Kelso is the director of social media and digital content. She joined UofL in 2015 as director of communications at the Brandeis School of Law. She also serves as a senior contributor at, writing about the restaurant industry, which she has covered since 2010. Her work has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Bloomberg, The Seattle Times, Good Morning America and Franchise Asia Magazine.