It appears that the crowns did die when they were exposed around the time we had actually seasonal winter weather, during an ice storm. So it was time to dig them up and replace them so that I don't loose yet another year since asaparagus crowns have to go at least a year before you can harvest from them.
I thought about ordering live plants but since I was making a last minute decision and wanted to get them in the ground while there was still time I bought crowns from a local nursery. I went with the all male variety Jersey Knight. Last year I crowded 16 crowns in a 4x4 area spacing them 12 inches apart. Asparagus should really be planted about 18 inches apart. Thinking that maybe overcrowding was part of the issue I replanted the same area with only 9 crowns and then added a tenth off to the side since the package came with 10.
Here's hoping I have better luck this next year!