Dec 5, 201207:32 AM
Nola Newbie

Dispatches from a New Orleans Newcomer

Carl the Cockroach

This is a stock photo because I was too scared to take a photo of the real cockroach.

I am not happy about this, New Orleans.

While I have found stores, restaurants and coffee shops I love in this city, I recently encountered something I do not like: cockroaches. I learned last week that humans and cockroaches have to coexist in New Orleans, but I am still grossed out by this.

It all started when I wandered into my bathroom on Tuesday evening to take a bath. I was leaning to turn the water on when I heard a scratching sound. It was kind of loud and I couldn’t tell where it was coming from.

Was it something outside?

No, it sounded too close.

Was it the dog?

No, she was sleeping.

Was it our upstairs neighbors?

No, they only blast over-played pop songs.

Not finding my answer, I continued to look around the bathroom. I couldn’t find anything making that noise. Then I looked up.

“EWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!” I screamed.

There was the cockroach sticking its little legs out through the bathroom vent. It seemed to be trying to get out, but it was too big for the little holes. I had never seen a cockroach this close to my face. It was GROSS.

“Ewww, ewww, eww!!!” I kept screaming.

“What’s wrong?” I could hear Chris yell from the other room. He had been sleeping, but apparently I woke him up with my fear of a cockroach attack.

“There’s a COCKROACH!!!” I yelled.

Chris ran in the bathroom, then looked at where I was pointing. “Oh that's not a big deal,” he said.

At this point I was standing outside the bathroom, watching the cockroach reach out his legs, then his antennae, then his head. It was disgusting.  I did not want that cockroach anywhere near our bathroom, so Chris humored me and began swatting the cockroach with a newspaper. That didn’t work because the cockroach could use the plastic of the vent as a shield to protect him. We needed another strategy, so I went to the closet to get the pet odor spray—it seemed like a good idea at the time, maybe not now as I write this—and we sprayed the vent, hoping the spray would poison the cockroach.

It didn’t. The cockroach continued to stick his legs out. He would stop for a little bit, then come back. It was like he was teasing me.

“Well I think we just need to leave it,” Chris said after our spraying and swatting failed. He continued to reiterate that cockroaches are normal for New Orleans, and that our apartment complex has a good bug man—although not good enough, in my opinion—who comes every month to spray. Even with the spraying, he said, cockroaches are a “fact of life” in New Orleans, and it’s something we have to get used to.

Ommm gross.

I’ve obviously lived a very sheltered life because Carl the Cockroach, as I’m calling him now, was the first cockroach I’ve ever seen. In other places I’ve lived, having a cockroach in your apartment means your apartment is dirty. When you would hear that someone saw a cockroach in their house or apartment, you would look at that person like, “That’s disgusting. I’m judging you.”

The cockroach sighting continued to haunt my thoughts all weekend. On Sunday night, I decided to share my terrifying cockroach experience with some friends who have lived in New Orleans much longer than I have. They laughed at me. “You’ve only seen one cockroach?” they said. “Wait until June and July.”

Why June and July? Apparently cockroaches love “warm, most environments,” according to this helpful factsheet, which makes sense why they would love New Orleans. I’m guessing the cockroaches are the only New Orleans residents who don’t complain about the heat and humidity in the summer.

So I guess Carl the Cockroach and I have to coexist, but I’m still weirded out by this revelation. I don’t know when I will see Carl and his friends next, but it will most likely happen again. Next time I see a cockroach, I’ll think twice before screaming, but I can’t promise I’m going to like it.

Reader Comments:
Dec 5, 2012 10:51 am
 Posted by  amyh

28 years in New Orleans and it never gets better. I make a sound that can only be replicated in the presence of one of those monster cockroaches. Wait until one flies at you. It's high on my list of least favorite New Orleans experiences. Get a can of Raid and drown them.

Dec 5, 2012 10:57 am
 Posted by  Katrina3117

I have lived here all of my life and it's something you never get used to. They are still gross. I agree with AmyH. Get a can of Raid and drown them.

Dec 5, 2012 11:09 am
 Posted by  tinkerbell

Get a grip!

Dec 5, 2012 04:02 pm
 Posted by  BRBob

Forget the Raid; cockroaches drink that for breakfast. Buy a can of Bengal Roach Spray, the long-term treatment in the gold can. It's expensive, but otherwise you and Carl are going to be long-term companions.

Dec 6, 2012 07:56 pm
 Posted by  Terri estay

Let me tell you what works? Take Rubbing Alcohol & put it in a spray bottle & spray the roach, Me too I am very afraid of those things & they do cause asthma, It really works ,

Dec 6, 2012 07:58 pm
 Posted by  Terri estay

When I see a roach I feel like I have been to Hell & saw Satan the Devil himself, I

Dec 6, 2012 07:59 pm
 Posted by  Terri estay

When I get to HEAVEN I will never have too see one those roaches again

Jan 30, 2013 04:31 pm
 Posted by  ScottyB

Love your blog. I always enjoy meeting people new to the city or who are visiting, and its a cool perspective you are blogging from.

You have been given some good advise in the comments about getting a can of Bengal, and just wait until summer. Get used to critters, because it rarely gets below freezing which apparently makes for a good environment for pests. For example, I was eating dinner in the Grill Room a couple weeks ago and saw a mouse skitter across the floor. Only in New Orleans could a mouse make it to the 3rd floor of a Windsor Court hotel.

Sep 22, 2013 02:16 pm
 Posted by  VieuxCaressDesigns

Haley, just found your blog; am enjoying it very much! But I have to laugh about the cockroaches and related comments. Ya'll have never lived in Manhattan apparently. I have so many stories about roaches, mice and rats, including one involving a toaster and albino cockroaches! Never mind the radioactive rats in Central Park. I wish I lived in Nola; envy you - I am currently in Florida - talk about bugs; it rivals NYC!

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Nola Newbie

Dispatches from a New Orleans Newcomer

about

Haley AdamsHaley Adams has lived in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Missouri, Indiana and France, but she now calls Louisiana home. After graduating from Indiana University in December 2010, Haley moved back to her home, Columbia, Mo., to work for Inside Columbia magazine and mooch off her parents. After a year and a half at the small city magazine, Haley moved to the South to be the web editor at Renaissance Publishing in August 2012.

In addition to managing MyNewOrleans.com and Renaissance Publishing's social media, Haley is the editor of New Orleans Bride, as well as an associate editor for Renaissance Publishing's other publications.

When Haley is not at the office, she is probably trying a new restaurant, looking for places to shop or exploring the South with her boyfriend, Chris, and their dog, Leila. You can reach Haley at (504) 830-7259 or haley@myneworleans.com.

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