South Louisiana will experience a total solar eclipse next week, and one Baton Rouge man has launched a business tied to the celestial event.

Jonathan Jee created Cajun Eclipse Glasses to sell eyewear that allow people to safely watch the sun on April 8 as the moon passes in front of it. The glasses are made by a New Mexico manufacturer, which like Cajun Eclipse is certified by the American Astronomical Society as being safe to wear while staring at the sun.

Jee said he got the idea to start a business selling certified glasses in 2017, the last time there was a total eclipse in the U.S. At that time, there was a shortage of affordable safe eyewear, he said.

“It was pretty slow in January, mild in February, but it’s picked up in March,” he said. “We’ve been a lot busier in the last two weeks.”

Over the past few weeks, Jee said he has sold a few hundred glasses between his website and eBay. He is selling the glasses for between $10.99 for a pack of 5 and $39.99 for a pack of 20.

Getting certified as an AAS-approved dealer earlier this year helped boost sales, he said. It led to his business getting listed on the NASA website, which was picked up by major outlets such as USA Today.

He picked the Cajun Eclipse name as a way to attract Louisiana residents and people with ties to the state, Jee said.

The eclipse will happen at 1:48 p.m. Monday, April 8, in Louisiana. It will be the last time the?contiguous U.S. is in the path of a total solar eclipse until 2044.?

While the business has been a side operation that has raised money for his twin daughters' college fund, Jee said he doesn’t know if he would do it again.

“It did perform well and will be profitable, but not at a level that I expected,” he said.

Some of this can be blamed on higher prices for glasses and increased shipping costs.

But another factor is that more businesses are selling eclipse glasses or giving them away. The AAS website lists about 50 authorized sellers of approved eyewear. And national companies such as Sonic and Smoothie King are giving away free glasses with the purchase of eclipse-themed drinks.

“The market has been inundated by a lot of competitors,” Jee said.

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