Bonfires are back! The tradition of bonfires on the levee return this Christmas Eve to St. James Parish


ST. JAMES PARISH (WGNO)– The bonfires will be back in St. James Parish this Christmas Eve. Parish leaders announced that the much-anticipated Christmas tradition that attracts thousands will return after a year off due to the pandemic.

The 100-year old plus tradition of lighting the bonfires in St. James Parish in Gramercy and Lutcher will return this Christmas Eve after a year off because of COVID-19.

“Last year I had to do the hardest thing I ever had to do the cancel such a tradition. There was definitely a void,” Pete Dufresne, St. James Parish President said.

Void no more! St. James Parish President Pete Dufresne says joy to the world that this family tradition is back.

“I’ve been going since I was a little boy, attending the bonfires every year. I’m very happy and grateful,” Dufresne said.

Along the levee beautiful bonfires will light up the night, lighting the way for Papa Noel.

“It just brings the spirit of the holiday season and Christmas and the birth of Jesus,” he said.

Back in 2019, they attracted thousands with a 50-foot bonfire alligator.

“It can be shapes, anything, any characters, ships, airplanes,” he said.

The recommended height of the bonfire structures is 15-feet for insurance reasons. After a year without them, Dufresne says we can all use a little light in our lives again.

“It is important to our residents. Our entire community, the family-ness, the together-ness,” he said.

Permits are required for families to construct a bonfire on the levee. Permits will be available at the St. James Parish Welcome Center in Gramercy beginning on November 20th. Construction of the bonfires can begin on November 21st.

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