4th of July festivities set in all River Parishes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 27, 2012



LAPLACE – Residents from St. James, St. John the Baptist and St. Charles parishes will have various options when it comes to celebrating Independence Day in the River Region.

The busy extended weekend of activities begins Sunday morning in St. James Parish with a patriotic Mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 2130 Rectory St. in Paulina. The Mass begins at 7 a.m. A breakfast at the Lutcher Knights of Columbus Hall, 1905 Main St., will immediately follow the Mass.

“The parish doesn’t have any formal activities for the July 4 holiday, but we wanted to do something to pay tribute to veterans in the parish,” said Parish President Timmy Roussel. “The Mass and breakfast are open to all residents.”

The festivities continue on Tuesday with events in St. John and St. Charles parishes. In St. John, the day begins with the parish’s seventh annual Veterans Luncheon for local veterans and their families at the National Guard Readiness Center, 4120 W. Airline Highway, in Reserve at 11 a.m.

St. John Parish spokesperson Paige Braud said U.S. Congressman Cedric Richmond will serve as the guest speaker. Other invited guests include state Supreme Court Justice John L. Weimer and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, who will join Council members and other local elected officials in saluting local veterans.

“We are pleased to host one of the best celebrations in the region in honor of our veterans,” said Parish President Natalie Robottom. “They put their lives on the line for our freedoms, and this is only a small token of our appreciation.”

Braud said the luncheon is open to all veterans in the River Parishes and their spouses, but the parish asks that all attendees RSVP to Terri Abadie in the Office of Economic Development at 985-652-9569 ext. 1115.

Later that afternoon, the parish will hold its 12th annual Independence Day Celebration with activities on both sides of the Mississippi River starting at 6 p.m. The east bank gathering takes place at St. Peter Church, 1550 Louisiana Highway 44 in Reserve, while the west bank event is held at the St. John Parish Courthouse, located at 2393 River Road in Edgard.

St. John Parish Economic Development Director Torri Buckles said both events will include patriotic music from local DJs, a flag raising and a patriotic balloon release. Food and drinks will be sold on both sides of the river, with proceeds going to St. Peter Church and other local civic organizations, but residents are encouraged to bring whatever they want.

“The event has grown over time into a large community gathering that brings together people from all across the area,” Buckles said. “It’s a laid back atmosphere where residents can just hang out and catch up with each other.”

Previous year’s events have attracted as many as 9,000 people, so residents are encouraged to come as early as possible to grab a good parking spot and a good viewing location. Fireworks begin at 9 p.m. sharp and are fired from a barge in the river. The display lasts about 30 minutes and can be seen up and down the river on both banks.

According to the St. John Sheriff’s Office, deputies will shut down River Road on the east bank between West 10th Street and Central Avenue starting at 7:30 p.m. Capt. Dane Clement, Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said cars would be turned away and onto side streets. Clement also said West Eighth Street, Godchaux Drive, Lapeyrolerie Drive, LeBlanc Drive and the track at Railroad Avenue would also be shut down starting at 6:30 p.m. Clement said River Road will not completely close on the west bank, but traffic will be closely monitored.

Buckles said all of the festivities are broadcast on the parish access channel, channel 15 on Comcast and RTC, for residents who are unable to come out.

Meanwhile in St. Charles Parish, officials will hold the parish’s 22nd annual Independence Day celebration at the West Bank Bridge Park, 13825 River Road in Luling, starting at 6 p.m.

St. Charles Parish spokesperson Renee Simpson said the event will feature a performance by the Top Cats, a popular cover band out of New Orleans celebrating its 29th year together. The band will play popular music spanning six decades.  

Simpson said the event also includes a patriotic balloon-twisting clown and a military flyover, which will be part of the opening ceremony beginning at 6:15 p.m. Seven local groups will sell assorted food and drinks at the event. Vendors will be stationed at the park’s concession stand and permanent shelters. Fireworks will begin at 9 p.m.

According to the St. Charles Sheriff’s Office, the northbound and southbound ramps of Interstate 310 at River Road (Louisiana Highway 18) will be closed 15 minutes prior to the fireworks and will remain closed for the duration of the show. River Road will be closed from Ashton Plantation Boulevard to the School Board Office. Pets and glass bottles are not allowed within the West Bank Bridge Park during the celebration, but ice chests and folding chairs are welcome.

Although the sale and ignition of fireworks in St. John and St. James parishes is legal, St. Charles Sheriff Greg Champagne reminds residents of St. Charles that personal fireworks displays are not allowed in St. Charles Parish without a permit. Anyone found using fireworks inside of the parish is guilty of a misdemeanor and could be fined up to $100 or imprisoned for 30 days in jail. Fireworks found by deputies will also be seized.