Eat, Drink and Be Merry

Louisiana’s Event Solutions helps set the table for the biggest Creole cookout in the world, the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival.

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

A row of Event Solutions restrooms from PolyPortables, a division of Satellite, are waiting for the crowds at the Breaux Bridge (Louisiana) Crawfish Festival.

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THE TEAM

Frank Gerami III and his father Frank Gerami II are the owners of Event Solutions (portable sanitation) and sister companies Party Central (special event equipment) and Deep South Containers (roll-off containers) located in Lafayette, Louisiana, with satellite offices in Sulphur, Louisiana, and Beaumont, Texas. Their service territory covers about a 150-mile swath along the Gulf Coast. Total company staff count is 85 with about 30 on the portable restroom side. Six technicians worked on the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival.

COMPANY HISTORY

In 1995, after selling his oil field inspection business, Frank Gerami II thought about getting into equipment rental, but after doing a little research, decided to specialize in special event rentals and founded Party Central. Around 2007 Frank Gerami III joined his father in the company and was instrumental in starting the portable restroom business. Party Central occasionally received requests for portable restroom trailers for weddings and upscale events, which they filled by renting from another company. But as those requests occurred more frequently, the Geramis could see they needed to do something different. At first, they tried working with the other company.

“We were probably that guy’s biggest customer,” Frank Gerami III explains. “We asked him to get more equipment because we had a need for it, but he just wasn’t interested in taking it to the next level.” So they bought that restroom business and created Event Solutions. Since then, they’ve acquired other companies — including Deep South Containers — and diversified service offerings. They now have about 4,000 standard units, 35 restroom trailers and 25 vacuum trucks.

MAKING CONNECTIONS

The company picked up the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival account in 2010 when they bought the company that had been servicing the event. The transition to Event Solutions was seamless, and they’ve gotten the call every year since. “The organizers have been pleased with our services,” Gerami reports, “We’ve formed a relationship with them, and we do it every year.” He says during the first few years they got all the organizational kinks worked out and now, having done it so many times, it’s fairly routine for them. Equipment needs don’t change much year to year.

THE MAIN EVENT

When the race commissioner of the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival yells out, “ils sont partis” (“they’re off!”), tiny crawfish engage in a slow-motion race around an 8-foot track with great encouragement from the crowd. But mostly these small lobsterlike creatures are the featured menu item during the three-day event, served up in numerous concoctions ranging from crawdogs to bisques. Cajun specialties such as gumbo are also available. Another highlight of the event is nonstop zydeco, Cajun and swamp pop music. In addition there were cooking demos, dance contests, a carnival and a parade.

The event has been going on since 1960 when the town wasted no time creating a festival to go along with the declaration by the Louisiana Legislature naming Breaux Bridge the crawfish capital of the world. Held the first weekend in May, the event brings in about 35,000 visitors from all over the country — and beyond.

LET’S ROLL

The festival took place at Parc Hardy in Breaux Bridge, about 15 miles from the company’s office. The park has no on-site restroom facilities. The company provided 80 standard units, four wheelchair-accessible units, 20 double hand-wash stations — all from PolyPortables, a division of Satellite — and one three-stall Wells Cargo restroom trailer. They also supplied two 30-yard roll-off containers (Roll Offs USA) with Galbreath hoists mounted on Mack trucks. Equipment was brought in on the Tuesday before the Friday opening.

“We go in early to give us enough time to set up everything appropriately and so everybody else can go in and do what they need to do — all the other vendors and the carnival people,” Gerami says. It took the company most of the day using a Ford F‑250, a Dodge 2500 and vacuum trucks pulling company-built transport trailers in various sizes. A few of the units were used before the event by the crew setting up the carnival but otherwise the fenced park was locked, preventing use by the public before the weekend.

One large bank of 60 units was set up in the middle of the park between the carnival on one side and the stage and vendor areas on the other. “It’s visible but out of the way of the festivalgoers,” Gerami says. The rest of the units were placed in small groups or singles near the carnival, the band tent, food vendors, and the arts and crafts booths. The restroom trailer was set up in the VIP/organizers area.

On Friday the company brought in 15 units for the Sunday parade, spread out in singles along the route. Everything was picked up Monday.

KEEPIN’ IT CLEAN

Units used by the carnival crew were serviced Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings. All equipment was serviced Saturday and Sunday. The crew, wearing company uniforms from Cintas with reflective safety tape, arrived each day at 5 a.m., finishing a couple hours later.

The service fleet included two Dodge Rams (2016 and 2017) with 900-gallon waste and 300-gallon aluminum tanks from FlowMark Vacuum Trucks and a 2016 Ford F‑550 with a 650-gallon waste and 300-gallon freshwater steel tank from Imperial Industries, all with Masport pumps. The company uses deodorant products from Satellite Industries. Waste was taken to the local wastewater treatment facility.

NO PROBLEMS

The company is always available 24 hours a day in case of emergency, but everything went smoothly for the festival. The weather was perfect and nothing out of the ordinary occurred that required their attention. The company touched base with the organizers afterward but, other than mentioning they might want a larger restroom trailer next year, the client was happy. “It was pretty much the same routine,” Gerami says. “Nothing unexpected, and everything went really well.”



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