A behind the scenes look at the New Orleans firework show, Go 4th on the River

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NEW ORLEANS — It’s almost time to celebrate America’s birthday, and what better place to celebrate than at the 35th anniversary of New Orleans most majestic firework show known as “Go 4th on the River.”

Before the colorful explosions light up the night sky, a lot of work goes into piecing the show together.

That work happens out on the Mississippi River on a giant steel-decked barge.

“This is a large display. There are a lot of fireworks on this barge. They are fired electrically and there is every color of the rainbow. I believe [we have] about 800 large shells, and ‘large’ being the size of a grapefruit up to the size of a basketball. Then, thousands of smaller shells, say from the size of a ping pong ball to a tennis ball,” says David Spear, the Gulf Coast manager for J & M Firework Displays.

Those who attend will hear a patriotic music medley that’s been choreographed specially for the show.

Anyone can get in on the action this 4th of July by following along with the music.

All you have to do is download the J & M Displays App on your smartphone.

“We hope that, that kind of moves through the crowd. So, if one person has the music on their app or is getting into position for that, then that word passes down to other people in the crowd and they can hear the music through the app as well,” says David.

After 120 hours of setting up, the show is ready to go with one single click of a button.

It is completely computer generated, after all.

“It’ll be spectacular, of course it ends with a huge grand finale. The noise downtown is incredible, because all of the sound bounces off all of the major buildings behind me. If we don’t set off a whole bunch of car alarms we haven’t done our job, and that [does] happen,” says David with a laugh.

The firework display runs about 12 to 15 minutes long, and will begin at 9:00 p.m. on July 4th.

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