This is a story about a lone cockroach, who partied too hard during Mardi Gras back in 2004.
Cockroaches come with the territory when you live in New Orleans. We are surrounded by water with the Mississippi River and Lake Ponchatrain being so close to the city. They don’t call it the Crescent City for nothing! My husband and I live in a 100 year old house, so we have seen our fair share of bugs. I always say that they carry guns and knives because they have a “take no prisoners” attitude and will attack your house at the slightest smell of food. That’s why exterminators are our friends. These cockroaches huff Raid like it’s a whippet and can only be tamed by the harshest of defenses. They are the armed forces of bugs – they come in by land, air, and water. They are not to be trusted and are, in all honesty, just disgusting.
Prior to moving to New Orleans, my husband and I would come visit my sister, the Zaftig Zelot, during Mardi Gras. Ahhh, Mardi Gras. A time to put away your worries and party like it’s your job, fighting over cheap plastic beads that are thrown from extravagant parade floats by drunken participants. What am I saying…everyone partakes in a little liquid courage during Mardi Gras. It is a festive time and if you are ever in the area, you should experience the revelry at least once.
So, we were visiting my sister. We participated in the festivities that year like we were warriors being sent off to battle. The pace of partying like that is not for the faint of heart. We went to parades, parties, and Mardi Gras balls. (Mardi Gras balls involve you dressing in a tuxedo or a formal gown and hauling a cooler full of liquid courage and food stuffs to counter act the liquid courage, but I digress…)
My sister lived in a different 100 year old house that had a long stairway leading to her front door. She had a problem with cockroaches, too. They would hang out in gangs on the stairway, but would scurry away when someone was coming up the steps. That is, all but one. One lone cockroach was sticking out the parade of people up and down the stairway, like the Hercules he was. He had put away his guns and knives and was just there for the crumbs. He didn’t care. He was a trooper.
We would come and go from parade to party, and this lone cockroach was always there to greet us. We stepped around him because no one had the heart to smoosh him. He was, after all, having a good time. Always vigilant, waiting for our return, waiting for scraps or spilled daiquiris so he could get his sugar fix, he stayed on his single step on the stairway leading to her apartment.
We had quite a good time that Mardi Gras. I don’t know if we missed a single parade, always rolling into the apartment covered in glitter and beads up to our necks. One for the history books, I say! (Although we probably took a week to recover).
On our final tumble into her apartment, after a day spent handing out beads from a balcony in the French Quarter, we found our lone cockroach. Dead. And, covered in glitter. He had officially Mardi Graed (Mardi Grased?) and bit the dust living the high life on that single step leading up to the apartment.
The moral of this story is to pace yourself and not be distracted by cheap, plastic, shiny beads and glitter. Don’t wait for the drops of daiquiri that might come your way. And most definitely, do not hang out on a single step on a stairway leading to an apartment that doesn’t want you. Mardi Gras is an intense race, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
This post has been brought to you by the letter E, for Exterminator. He’s coming to visit our house this morning and I couldn’t be happier. No glitter cockroaches for this house!