GRETNA, La. -- The extreme roach infestation in this Gretna house was daunting for even the toughest members of the Jefferson Parish Mobile Crisis Team.
'Thousands and thousands of roaches, just stagnant water -- very, very nasty,' said Chris Jones.
'Pretty shocking,' added Clarence Casey. 'It's unbelievable, really.'
Wearing full hazardous materials gear and using cans of insecticide to battle the swarms of roaches scurrying everywhere, team members had to remove all the belongings in the home, finding that the roach infestation was so bad that nothing could be saved.
'I didn't know how we were going to begin,' said Jefferson Crisis Team Coordinator Lisa Ruffin-Williams. 'That was the first thought, I was like, where do we start?'
Normally crisis team members provide counseling and similar services, but they knew they had to take action when a relative of the owner contacted them because the roach infestation had gotten so out of control she was at the end of her rope.
'She felt that she had no reason to live,' Counselor Tracey Peden said the owner told her. 'She was very tearful because there was no one here to help her.'
Not surprisingly the owner of the home did not want to appear in this story. She is a bit overwhelmed and embarrassed by all this. But for the crisis team, this is only the first step.
They'll have an exterminator out here Thursday to take care of the insect problem in the house, and then they'll turn to area charities for help to replace the furniture that can't be salvaged.
And for the resident, they'll be providing some longer term help.
'We have what we call a post crisis worker that will come back, check on her, take her to her appointments because she doesn't have transportation, come in, make sure she is following the regimen we give to her,' said Lisa Ruffin-Williams.
Jefferson officials dispatched a truck to remove the infested contents of the house as quickly as possible, while the crisis team completed plans to help the owner.
'We are going to stick with her until the conditions in her home are livable,' said Tracey Peden.