Sunday night, July 10, I flew into New Orleans and made a reservation at Joe and Flo's. In theory, it made sense: I was arriving late, leaving early, and the location was an easy walk to my rental car pick-up. A touring artist, I had work in the state.
Anyway, my theory didn't include bedbugs.
I was happy for the late-night airport pick-up, and by the time I was in the bed--a room with two bunk beds and one other hosteler--it was past 1:30 A.M.. I slipped in quietly, went to bed, didn't tu
rn on a light.
Though restless, I eventually feel asleep, waking at about 8:30 A.M.. Immediately, I could see three bites on my left wrist, which I recognized as probable bedbug bites. I saw what looked like other possible bites, too.
I took a shower, dressed, left my bags in the room, picked up my rental car, and returned to check out and pack everything into the hot car before spending a few hours on nearby Frenchman Street. Mid-afternoon, I decided to drive to Lafayette, where I used to live.
Throughout the afternoon, I thought I was uncomfortable from the heat, but when I looked in the mirror that evening in Lafayette, I saw my discomfort must have been from the bites and welts on my neck, back, side, and arms, even a few on my face. I must have had 200 of them. The itching began that evening.
On Monday, I wrote Joe and Flo's from Lafayette, and posted about this on another site.
In retrospect, I had to have brought them into my rental car, since I continued to get bit over the next days despite vacuuming the vehicle several times and trying several topical remedies. I did a good amount of research, tried a number of things, and eventually figured that if I drove around for awhile with the heat on high--this in midst of Louisiana summer--after washing and drying all my clothes and bags, and going through all the rest of my gear, and putting every last thing in black plastic trash bags in the car, I'd kill them off, no matter how hardy they were, since I got the car to over 130 degrees and kept it there and a steady temperature above 120 ought to be enough.
It's taken me two weeks to deal with all this. And though I've read reports that Joe and Flo's has been a good experience for some travelers--indeed, that's one of the reasons I originally arranged to stay there--I'd say STEER CLEAR. I saved approximately $40 by staying the one night. Dealing with the bedbugs cost me more than ten times that. Fortunately this was during a slow time of my touring, when I had the resources to deal with it, and didn't bring them home.
While it's possible I spread a few myself, after the first night I'm guessing they were only biting me in the car, and I did get rid of them there. However, I've seen (and read) enough to understand the scope of the problem.