The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has started a crackdown on the profusion of so-called ‘emotional support animals’ that passengers are bringing on commercial aircraft.
Besides small dogs and cats, passengers have claimed peacocks, great Danes, boa constrictors, parrots, gerbils, a three-toed sloth, and even a grizzly bear as required for their emotional support
Following many passenger complaints, today the TSA issued a long list of animals that will no longer be considered as ‘emotional support animals.’ And one animal, in particular, has some New Orleanians outraged.
Effective July 1st, cockroaches will no longer be allowed on scheduled airline flights as ‘emotional support animals.’ According to national TSA spokesman Randall Tanner, “Roaches carry disease and spread infections. They are vermin. What kind of ‘support’ is that?”
But Bruce Johns, a musician and poet from San Francisco who lives in the Bywater, begs to differ.
“Roaches are as much a part of New Orleans as gumbo and humidity. I don’t feel whole without my little friend. I don’t feel New Orleans. I need my Moon!”
Moon is the name of Johns’ emotional support cockroach, who is often seen perched atop Johns’ man bun or sleeping in his beard.
Johns went on to say that he has spent several hundred dollars for Moon’s hair-thin titanium collar and leash, and to have “Emotional Support Roach” tattooed in orange letters on Moon’s thorax.
Johns is not alone.
According to the TSA, since 2017 more than 150 New Orleanians — most hailing from the Bywater and Marigny — found to have cockroaches on their person or in their carry-on luggage have claimed them as an emotional support animal.
Cockroaches are not the only local animals to be banned.
A Lafayette man was recently barred from bringing his ‘emotional support alligator’ onto a flight, and last week LSU President F. King Alexander was not allowed to board a flight in Baton Rouge with his ‘emotional support Joe Alleva.’
The TSA said they will still allow ‘emotional support nutria’ and ‘emotional support crawfish’ for passengers who live in St. Bernard Parish.