Downtown park overrun with rats


This started as a follow up to our restaurant report, but what we found in Quebedeaux Park is a rat infestation. The creatures are brave enough to appear it the daylight and even made their way into a cafe inside the Family Law Center. That's where a picture of a rat first came to our attention.

It is not what you want to see in a café -- a rat beside the drink and sandwich cooler. The shocking picture was taken in the basement cafe of the Family Law Center by attorney Don Royall.

"Lo and behold there was a rat," he said. "So I whipped out my trusty cell phone camera and the rest is history."

After Royall took the picture, diners complained to the city health department. Inspector Andy Bowden came to check the cafe.

"They are keeping everything clean," Bowden said. "They are keeping a high level of sanitation in the food prep area. Everything in my viewpoint is in line where it should be with the health department."

It turns out the rat caught on camera does not live in the Family Law Center.

Cafe manager Nelly Mendez explained, "When they opened the door, the rat came in the building and they tried to kill it."

Mendez says the rat was removed the same day it was discovered. Mendez says the real problem is outside. Quebedeaux Park sits only feet away from the Family Law Center entrance and is overrun with rats.

The rats scurry through the bushes, make their way into and out of the trash cans in Quebedeaux Park and even sit on the benches in full view of passersby. The rats are so brazen that they even come out in the middle of the day. If you spend a few minutes in the park you're sure to see one or two, or even more.

Officials with Harris County Precinct 1 are responsible for the up keep of Quebedeaux Park. The rat infestation is being worked on. Crews are replacing the rotting deck and rat poison can be found throughout the park. Downtown workers say they are ready to see the unwelcome guests gone.

The park's renovations started two weeks ago. County officials tell us it is not unusual for rats to be seen downtown, but when they appear in full view during the day, something has to be done.

County officials say the problems in the park started when homeless people set up camp in the park. We are told the rats came to feed on the food left behind and then moved in fully when the homeless were removed from the area.

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