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French Quarter rats disappearing as New Orleans uses pandemic to its advantage

“The rats were hungry, and we put out the products that they would feed on."

NEW ORLEANS — When the French Quarter shut down in March in the early days of Coronavirus pandemic, rats came out on to Bourbon Street looking for food

Mayor LaToya Cantrell even remarked that the closure of restaurants and bars was driving the rats crazy.  

This created an opportunity for New Orleans rodent control. 

“Because everything was shut down, these animals were very, very hungry and we really took opportunity at that point to do very aggressive mitigation," said Dr. Claudia Riegel, executive director of the city’s Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board. “Yes, we were really able to jump on that opportunity.”  

Rodent control agents baited storm drains with rodenticide and lined streets in the French Quarter with bait stations. 

“The rats were hungry, and we put out the products that they would feed on,” Riegel said. 

RELATED: Zombie-like raccoons spotted in New Orleans City Park pose danger to pets

Ten months later, Riegel noticed a decrease in the rat population, particularly in the French Market area which has always been a hot spot for rodents. 

“When we recently did trapping, it was towards the end of last year, French Market, we caught zero (rats),” Riegel said. “We really, really have gotten a handle in that particular area which I’m pretty excited about.” 

Riegel warns property owners to do their part to help control the rodent population. 

“Managing your garbage, managing your food sources, that is ultimately how we manage our rodents.” 

New Orleans rodent control is urging property owners to call 3-1-1 to report rat sightings.

RELATED: Rats becoming a problem in New Orleans as people empty restaurants, streets

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