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Finding Toilet at Mardi Gras a Challenge

By Carolyn E. Price     Feb 16, 2007 in Lifestyle
During Mardi Gras, New Orleans becomes latrine challenged. In fact, New Orleans singer Benny Grunch even wrote a song about it -- "Ain't No Place To Pee On Mardi Gras Day".
Joe Briand and his two pals were well into a long day of eating and driking when they decided to use a local school's playgrounds as an "al fresco" latrine. However, a police officer spotted them and "made us take off our shirts and clean it up and there was a river there from everyone using it all day", Briand said.
According to the saying "almost anything goes at Mardi Gras", I guess peeing in public isn't one of the "anything's". New Orleans' problem during Mardi Gras is quite simple to define, take around one million people, let them loose on the streets, add to the mix a whole bunch of beer and very few bathrooms.
"No one seems to think about needing a bathroom until it becomes urgent," said Archie Casbarian, who owns two restaurants in the French Quarter _ Arnaud's, a luxurious Creole restaurant, and Remoulade, a casual Creole restaurant. "The gates to patios are used, the recessed doors are very convenient outlets. That's why we're all used to getting up in the morning and hosing down the sidewalk."
The problem of where to pee is so prevalent that New Orleans singer Benny Grunch even wrote a song about it _ "Ain't No Place To Pee On Mardi Gras Day".
It has become a major money making enterprise, providing the partiers with toilet facilities. A single stall portable toilet can be rented for $100 for Mardi Gras weekend and they appear in people's front yards and even in the back of pickup trucks.
The Academy of the Sacred Heart Father's Club sells food, daiquiris, beer and soft drinks to raise money during the parades and it also has a bank of porta-potties. "It's a real public service," said Liz Manthey, director of development for the school. "They're cleaned every day, there's a place to wash your hands. Believe me, people are very happy to find it." The school has around 20 portable toilets and charge $1 for a single trip, or you can buy an unlimited us pass for $5. The money that they raise is used to buy playground equipment and pay for other school expenses.
Who knew that finding a place to pee would be so difficult. So remember, if you're going down to Mardi Gras, first thing on your 'to do' list: don't forget your unlimited pass for the porta-potty at the Catholic School!
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