One of the city’s favorite Cajun restaurants is closing its doors this month.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, Sept. 30, Papa Roux owner Art Bouvier announced the popular East side eatery’s last day of operation will be Oct. 13.
“The landscape in this town has changed drastically over the past eleven years,” writes Bouvier. “With that, plus a run of bad luck and bad circumstances, [we’ve] admitted that it’s finally time. We simply don’t have the energy to keep going.”
Bouvier details problems with suppliers, unreliable employees, needed repairs and increased taxes.
The restaurant opened in 2008 and quickly became a neighborhood staple thanks to tasty food and affordable prices. Bouvier and the restaurant made headlines several times for reasons other than food, including when he hired a man who walked 10 miles to a job interview, and after a robbery in 2015 when Bouvier offered a 25 percent discount for any gun-toters who showed a concealed carry permit.
There were also some serious financial troubles as far back as 2014 when Bouvier and co-owner Colleen Kenna made a tax filing mistake to the tune of nearly $30,000. A generous loan and successful GoFund Me campaign kept the doors open.
Four years later, the obstacles to staying open are simply too much. According to Bouvier, closing the doors isn’t going to solve the most important problem—lack of funds.
“Each time an independent closes,” Bouvier writes, “I say the same thing: this stuff ruins lives. Nobody believes it when they start down this path, but closing can ruin everything. People lose houses. People lose any hope of recouping the life savings invested to open.
“Closing the business is expensive. For us, closing is actually more expensive than operating. Not only has Mama already lost the life savings, but The Roux has substantial business loans that still need to be paid back.”
In closing, Bouvier says, “It’s been a good run. And a long one.”
“We’ve enjoyed it, even when we hated it. We’ve laughed even while crying. And we’ve watched you laugh with us and cry with us, and what we want more than anything right now is for you to love us as we love you, while we close the final chapter in a very surreal book. Two weeks from now Mama and I don’t start a new chapter; we each begin entirely new books.”