The Great Cajundome Flushoff

The CAJUNDOME in Lafayette, La., made news across the world when it flushed its toilets December 27th.

The arena and the nearby convention center held evacuees during hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and officials didn’t know what might be stuck in the sewage system. They needed to prep the building for public events beginning January 6th after four months of inactivity.

“We had more than 17,000 evacuees over 58 days,” venue GM Greg Davis told Pollstar. “There were a lot of kids practically living there 24/7. We found (in the sewage lines) T-shirts, soda pop cans and brick wrapped in a towel.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency denied a $45,000 request for the Cajundome to inspect the system with a camera, so the “Great Cajundome Flushoff” was the next option. The venue asked for 70 volunteers to flush the 220 toilets at 6 p.m. December 27th. Nearly 100 people showed up, including Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and dads looking for some bonding time with their sons.

The crew simulated the level of flushing of a sold-out event if patrons hit the loo at the same time. The flushing uncovered one minor obstruction that was promptly corrected, Davis said.

“I’d like to give the credit to Russ Simons, who ran (Nashville’s) Gaylord Entertainment Center. When he opened that building, he had a situation where he had a sold-out event, and some of the lines started to back up. So he designed a flushoff, and that’s where we got the idea from.”

Joe Reinartz