Monica Cheramie is dancing in great anticipation of Jazz Fest but she isn’t moving to the rhythm of any music. She’s gyrating to the famous pee pee dance.
Cheramie, who has been waiting in line with 34,000 other women since 2014 to use the porta-potties, hopes the 50th anniversary of the enormous festival is the year she finally gets to relieve herself.
“I think about leaving the line all the time but whenever I’m about to it moves up another person and I’ve already devoted so much time to this spot that I just I hold and hold and hold firm,” she said with her legs squeezed tightly and knees crossed.
“I’m hoping with it being the festival’s 50th anniversary that I get to mark my own momentous occasion all over the porta-potty. My eyes are turning yellow here.”
Cheramie says she clearly remembers the last time she got to pee. It was at her home in Mid City right before she left to attend Jazz Fest 2014.
“It was an absolutely incredible day—the sun was out with clouds blocking the heat, there was a cool breeze, and I was wearing my new festival dress which, as you can see, has disintegrated to a mini skirt. But as they say, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. If I knew what I know now, I would have stayed inside a few more minutes and cherished that moment so much more. I would have clung to my toilet like it was my last bottle of wine and just enjoyed being in its company.”
As Cheramie recount the good ol’ day, chatter began increasing that times are a-changing.
Rumors from the front of the line passed down from generation to generation said the porta-potties were nearing their capacity sometime last year and now may be unusable by the time Cheramie’s turn comes. Jazz Piazza, who was born in the line four years ago while her mother and grandmother waited for their turn, said she is worried about the future.
“Nana told me before she passed that there is a heavenly place up ahead where all my dreams will come true if I am a good little girl,” said Piazza, who began to tear up. “But now they’re saying urine trouble, you might not get into the promised land.”
Cheramie said attempted to call Jazz Fest officials hundreds of times during her first week in line but was only successful once.
“I finally got through right before my phone’s battery died and all they said was ‘Jazz Fest… please, hold’ and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
With hopes dwindling, Cheramie has all but resigned to the possibility she will miss this year’s big headliner, Karaoke Craig, yet again.
“Of all the acts I’ve missed over the years this one really stings. Karaoke Craig is one of my absolute all-time favorites. He’s like a Bear’s roast beef po’boy dripping with gravy, literally. You can’t help but love him.”