Business shows viability of the area for growth, development
You pull that boat alongside the dock and prepare to load up on the trailer, exhausted from a long day of fun in the sun. Whether that fun is skiing, tubing or fishing, every lake lover knows how exhausted that mixture of sun and water all day can make a body feel. There is also another well-known side effect of all-day water fun, complete and overwhelming starvation.
Hooking that boat on the trailer all you can feel is the grumbling of your stomach and that’s when it hits you. That spicy wave of heaven that rolls through the air and causes the mouth to involuntarily water. That perfect mixture of spice and heat that every single Louisiana native knows signals one thing… crawfish.
If you are coming off Lake D’Arbonne in Farmerville, that heavenly aroma is no doubt coming from Rhett’s Tails & Shells. Rhett’s specializes in boiled crawfish and shrimp and opened its doors for business in January 2017. The citizens of Farmerville and Union Parish and those out of towners lucky enough to be lured in by the irresistible aroma should count themselves lucky to be eating incredible food at an eating establishment that happened by chance.
The owner and operator of Rhett’s is Rhett Trahan, an appropriately cajun name for the owner of a crawfish joint. Trahan grew up a cajun country boy in Crowley. “We lived on a dairy farm where farm life wasn’t just a way of living,” said Trahan, “it was a way of surviving.”
Trahan learned to appreciate food and cooking at a young age. His father was a blue-collar worker who had a passion for music and his mother was a homemaker with a passion for business. “Both were successful in their chosen careers,” remembers Trahan, “but their best attributes were being great parents and we ate well with fresh farm eggs, rich cow’s milk, and grazed beef on our table daily.”
Trahan stumbled upon Farmerville and Lake D’Arbonne by pure chance. He was volunteering as the director of DSRA, Deep South Racing Association, an organization that hosts speed boat drag races. These are not your typical speed boat races. These races focus on small communities and non-profit organizations and help stimulate those economies and raise money for the non-profits. Matt and Mitch Ludwig provided a race platform on Lake D’Arbonne and Trahan came to Farmerville for those races. “It was that day, when I topped the hill on Hwy 15 and was able to look out over the lake. I decided right then that this was the place for me to retire,” said Trahan, “the lake life was what I always wanted, and Farmerville provided all the necessary amenities I was looking for. It was a perfect fit!”
Trahan had visited many small lake communities with his duties as DSRA Director. He always kept his eyes open looking for that perfect spot to fulfill his retirement dreams. “I had visited several other locations such as Toledo Bend,” said Trahan, “but none of them provided the amenities, the peacefulness, and receptiveness of the people here in Farmerville.”
When he first arrived in Farmerville, Trahan had a catering business, Lache Pas La Patates’s, and had no intentions of expanding into anything else. However, the Ludwig brothers and others requested that he boil crawfish and provided a location across from Ludwig Marine. “As with anything I do,” said Trahan, “I jumped all in full speed and opened what is now Rhett’s Tails & Shells where we specialize in boiled crawfish and shrimp and on special occasions like the Veteran’s Benefit, I cook a pork and sausage jambalaya which is one of my favorites.” Anyone who has tasted this jambalaya knows just how extra special it is. In addition to Rhett’s, Trahan has expanded and added The Snack Shack and promises that soon he will have kayak rentals.
Trahan is quick to tell anyone who asks that his success is because of Farmerville, Union Parish, and surrounding communities. “The people here have been so supportive of my business,” Trahan shared, “and the generosity and friendships built have been heart warming and everlasting. I have been so blessed.”
Rhett’s Tails & Shells is located at 125 Old Hwy 15 in Farmerville and is open seven days a week. Monday thru Friday it is open 4-9 p.m. and noon 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Drop in, say hello, and experience a cajun delicacy mixed with a dash of north Louisiana hospitality, a treat you will remember long after your sunburn has faded.