Rat infestation forcing businessman to move
PORT ALLEN - A man who runs a crawfish company at his rental property in Port Allen says there's a bad rat infestation in the area that's forcing him to make a tough business decision.
Rick Hasbert owns Rick's Westside Crawfish and says during crawfish season cars line up and down Atchafalaya Street in Port Allen for crawfish. He's lived in the same rental property for six years and says he's gained quite a following.
"I do like living here," he said.
While business has been good, there's a problem he is struggling with finding a solution to. Hasbert says he's been dealing with rats for about four years and he blames the poor upkeep of the neighborhood for his problems.
"All these abandoned houses around me... If I put poison and traps down and kill, kill, kill rats and they just come, come, come," said Hasbert.
On either side of Hasbert's rental, there are abandoned and boarded homes. The properties have been vacant for quite some time. He says it's the reason why there are so many rats living in his attic and around the area. It's why he and his landlord have put repairs on the back burner.
"It does us no good to tear it out, put new sheetrock and paint when the rats are going to cut through the sheetrock," he said.
Hasbert says the city has offered to bring rat poison to help the situation, but he says there's much more to be done.
"Clear down all the abandoned houses and clean up the lots around here," he said.
One of the homes, 227 Atchafalaya Street is on Port Allen's council agenda Wednesday night for a vote to be condemned. If approved, the city will begin condemnation proceedings and have it torn down within 30 days. The city says a lot of the homes Hasbert is concerned about have been abandoned but none of the property owners will step forward to have them torn down or repaired.
"I just hate to move," said Hasbert. "I just really hate to move, you know, I've invested so much here."
While the decision has been difficult for Hasbert, he has decided the infestation problems are too great to solve and will be moving to a new location by the first of the year.