Christmas on the Bayou Parade returns to Bayou Gauche

Published 3:23 pm Friday, December 16, 2022

BAYOU GAUCHE — The island of Bayou Gauche is home to a true Louisiana Christmas tradition. A parade of boats decked out in beautiful Christmas lights illuminates the December sky and brings the community together to watch in awe at the edge of the water.

The holiday tradition began in 2000 and continued up until the devastation of Hurricane Ida in 2021. Upon finding out the original organizers had other obligations this year, Jennifer Ledet stepped up to keep the tradition alive for families in St. Charles Parish.

There is no registration fee to participate, and the only requirement is for the boats to have lights. Community members are invited to line up their boats by the pump station on Bayou Gauche Island at 5 p.m. Water patrol and the fire department’s boat will be present as the parade rolls out at 6 p.m. and follows the curve of the entire island.

“I’m currently living down the bayou, and a lot of people are just getting back in their homes and are ready to restart the tradition,” Ledet said. “It’s mostly locals that decorate their boats. They have throws – it may be beads or candy. It’s just something positive for the community and for the kids.”
Through the years, the Christmas on the Bayou parade has included themed boats with blow-up decorations and costumes. Some captains have dressed up as Santa Claus, while other boats have brought movies like “A Christmas Story” to life.

According to Ledet, past events included a competition with cash prizes for best decorated boat. This year’s parade is just for fun and will not include the competitive aspect.

“After everything everyone has been through with Hurricane Ida, we are just doing it for the purpose of getting people together to have a good time,” Ledet said. “We are such a close-knit community down there. Everyone knows everybody, and people come from all over the parish to see it because a parade of boats isn’t something you can see everywhere. It’s really beautiful to see the boats all lit up in the dark.”

The public is welcome to watch the boat parade from anywhere on the island where the water is visible.

For more information or to get involved, contact Ledet at 504-654-8310.