Fireworks contract extension denied; Council judging celebration this year for renewal

Published 12:15 am Saturday, July 1, 2017

RESERVE — Monday night’s fireworks show in St. John the Baptist Parish will be under the microscope of more than just community revelers.

“I’m not pleased with this company at all,” Julia Remondet said. “I have been unimpressed for the last three years, and we’re losing viewers. If we’re losing viewers, we’re losing the need for the display.”

The District 2 Parish Councilwoman didn’t mince words when leading an effort not to renew the contract of fireworks provider J&M Displays, which was seeking to continue supplying the show through 2020.

Remondet said J&M Displays, at a price tag of $29,998.50 annually, is failing to deliver an acceptable number of shots, heights needed for viewing and coordination to music that revelers deserve in a parish-sponsored Independence Day celebration.

“We’ve taken ten steps back from a professional show,” she said. “It just doesn’t make the same display. You used to get goose bumps when it would go off. I could go home and see this in my neighborhood. I’m just giving you my opinion and what I’m hearing from the general public. We’ve seen better.”

The 17th Annual Independence Day Celebration and firework show takes place Monday from viewing locations at St. Peter Church in Reserve and St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Edgard.

The celebration begins at 6 p.m., and the live broadcast airs at 7 p.m. on RTC, Comcast channel 15 and ATT U-Verse channel 99. The fireworks show begins at 9 p.m.

J&M Displays told L’OBSERVATEUR “an amazing” show is planned with fireworks ranging from three to eight inches set to explode for 20 minutes of scripted action that promises to deliver more than 1,600 booms.

Company representative Danielle McWatorger said small fireworks are not in the plan, adding technicians need the large fireworks to draw eyes from both banks of the Mississippi River.

District 3 Councilman Lennix Madere Jr., who also balked at extending J&M Displays’ contract beyond this year, called this month’s Independence Day Celebration “a very important year” for the company.

St. John Assistant Public Safety Director Travis Perrilloux said the Parish would speak to the tug captain working the barge used as the base for the Independence Day celebration, making sure a central river location is used to launch the fireworks.

The river level, which is higher than usual, may provide a better launch pad, parish leaders said.