NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Venice fishing guide Ron Price is a huge fan of redfish, speckled trout, flounder and black drum. What he doesn’t care for, however, is a federal agency he equates with bottom-feeding hardhead catfish — the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
In the awful months following the passage of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the corps, through eminent domain laws, took possession of a large swath of Price’s property in Plaquemines Parish. It cost Price a fortune, and for a time, curtailed his successful charter operation.
But now, 12 years later, business is booming and Price is expanding, with plans in place to build a 2,100-square-foot kitchen and entertainment area for clients. The facility will go on land the corps didn’t exactly treat like a good neighbor.
“When they skipped town, they politely left all their trash in a big pile on my property,” Price said.
The guide’s stepson, Justin Roser, was using a Bobcat to clear the push pile this weekend when the fattest rattlesnake he’d ever seen tried to make a beeline to the levee, Price said. Roser jumped off the heavy equipment and sent the rattlesnake to the great timber plot in the sky.
Price said the snake measured 6 feet in length, and it’s not the first he’s seen on his property.
“I’ve had longer ones, but that one might have been the thickest one,” he said. “That was the most impressive thing about it — how fat it was.”
Despite its length and remarkable girth, the snake had only two rattles, Price said.
“It looked like somehow they had broken off,” he said. “That one should have had a whole cluster on the end of him.”
Timber rattlesnakes usually max out at about 5 feet in length, so the ones Price has found on his property are real giants, probably feasting on rabbits and nutria. They range throughout the eastern U.S., as far north as Maine and Minnesota, and are highly venomous.