Fill a gallon pot half full of water. Add the chicken base, garlic, filé, thyme, bay leaves, salt and cayenne. Bring to a boil. In the meantime, prepare the roux.
For the roux, heat cottonseed oil in a stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat; then whisk flour in gradually. Whisk until smooth and heated through, about three to five minutes (add more oil if roux is too clumpy).
Next, whisk the roux into the pot. Add onions, celery, peppers, diced tomatoes and tomato puree. Mix well.
Then add okra and cook 10 to 15 minutes. Add shrimp, oysters, drum and crab and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
Skim off any fat from the surface of the gumbo, then serve.
This recipe is courtesy of Mandina's in New Orleans.