(This blog post was originally on my Transworld blog, but I recently came across it and decided to re-post it here with a few slight modifications.)
For a three-year stint back in college I lived in a ratty old house in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, right across the street from LSU’s campus. It was a prime location on a corner lot, but to say it was a complete dump would be an understatement.
I don't have any photos of the house, so here’s a screenshot from Google maps.
Over the years I had a slew of people live with and stay with me… Everyone from cool friends, to deadbeat acquaintances, to bands, to hot chicks, to professional bike riders, and more either lived in or stayed in that house at one time or another. There were also a hell of a lot of rats that lived in that house over the years who helped themselves to whatever they wanted.
Besides the dirt cheap rent ($425 a month for a three bedroom), the best part about the place was that I could make up to $450 during a big football game by letting football freaks park on my lawn. There are more bad things about the house than I could ever write in a single blog entry, but here are a few that stand out right now that helped to give 709 Aster St. the nickname “Disaster Aster.”
– It smelled like crap and made anyone who set foot in the door smell like crap for at least three days. I lived there, so I didn’t shake the stench for about a year after I had moved out.
– Rats ruled the joint. Over the years I caught and killed more than two dozen of the varmints ranging in size from “Awe, it’s kinda cute.” to “Holy mother of god, that thing is a monster!” I once found their stash of food—they stole entire packs of hotdog buns and ramen noodles out of the pantry and somehow brought them to a room out back, leaving only scraps of plastic wrappers and bags to be found.
– The insulation was so bad if you didn’t run the window air conditioning units on full blast at all times mold would grow on everything from the kitchen table to the leather armchair. I learned this the hard way, of course.
– For the first year or so I lived there the roof leaked when it rained, which in Louisiana was several times a week. We finally got a new roof after “the ugly room” caved in from all the water pouring into it.
– It had “the ugly room” as we called it, which was a room that was so destroyed, dilapidated, and disgusting, there was no fixing it so we just put a shower curtain over it and never looked in there.
– The floor was several different levels and the windows and doorframes were anything but straight. It basically felt like you were walking around a fun house…without the fun.
– It got broken into one morning while I was donating plasma for some extra college cash. That’s right, while I had a 14 gauge needle in my arm and was pumping out blood for a measly $25, some bastards kids kicked in my door and stole my entire camera gear bag, my laptop, and my bike, among other things. As a rider, graphic design student, and photographer, they took pretty much everything I had.
– Squirrels ran around in the ceiling, making scratching sounds all day and night.
– A good friend of mine was practicing some hardcore dancing moves and kicked a huge hole in the wall. We just hung a picture over it to cover it up. And the same went with the BB gun breaking windows…we just Duct taped them up the best we could.
– The back room flooded when it rained hard. The worst incident ruined a huge box of old BMX magazines and an awesome Pee Wee Herman Halloween costume, and worst of all a brand new mattress and box spring I had just bought and hadn’t set up yet.
– There was no heater. Luckily it didn’t get cold that often in Louisiana, but when it did I was just out of luck. My only savior was a tiny space heater from Walmart that blew the fuse every 20 or 30 minutes.
After I moved out of the house in 2006, the Aster legacy lived on through friends and fellow riders of the area. Not too long after I was gone, the living room ended up becoming home to a ramp, a motorcycle, and a few more people than it could handle…and things were getting wilder by the day. First the ceiling in one of the bedrooms completely fell in, then a few months later the entire place caught on fire, putting a grand finale end to it’s reign of terror on humans. Then after it was sitting vacant for a while a tree fell on it during a hurricane.
I’m pretty sure it is still there to this day, waiting for the next thing to happen to it before someone buys the land from the slumlord holding onto the property…
May Disaster Aster forever live in infamy though our thoughts, stories, and through this blog post.
Not quite gone, but trying hard to be forgotten…
Screenshot from a video clip showing the tree on the house.