Bonfire Lighting in River Parishes Moved to December 23rd Due to Weather

Published 11:02 am Friday, December 22, 2023

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The traditional Christmas Eve Lighting of the Bonfires, a hallmark event in Louisiana’s River Parishes, has been preemptively moved to December 23rd at 7:00 p.m. This change, driven by concerns over inclement weather forecasted for Christmas Eve, represents a collaborative decision by local authorities and organizations in both St. James and St. John Parishes.

Officials involved in this decision include representatives from St. James Parish Officials, St. John Parish Officials, the towns of Lutcher and Gramercy, the volunteer fire departments of both parishes, the sheriff’s offices of St. James and St. John, and the Pontchartrain Levee Board. This consensus underscores the commitment to safety and the desire to preserve this cherished local tradition.

Parish President Pete Dufresne emphasized the significance of this decision, stating, “Rescheduling the lighting of the bonfires is challenging, but we prioritize the safety of our citizens and visitors. This change allows us to continue our festive celebration and honor our traditions in a safe environment.”

Weather forecasts predict an 85-90% chance of rain on December 24th, particularly around the time initially scheduled for the bonfire lighting. Conversely, conditions on December 23rd are expected to be more favorable, with less wind and rain, creating a safer and more enjoyable setting for the event.

Parish President Hotard remarked on the importance of rescheduling, noting that it would ensure a fun and secure event for everyone. This adjustment also helps guide Papa Noel to the River Parishes in time for Christmas.

St. James Parish will implement contraflow at 6:30 p.m. to facilitate the event, while St. John Parish will do so at 6:00 p.m. on December 23rd.

For further details or inquiries, the public is encouraged to reach out via email at The adjustment in schedule aims to maintain the spirit of the holiday while ensuring the well-being of all participants in this time-honored tradition.

About Timothy Holdiness

Timothy Holdiness is a native of Louisiana and has been published in several state, national and international publications. He has earned two undergraduate degrees in Biology, most recently from Northwestern State University in 2022. Notably, Holdiness was the 2014 Microsoft Office Specialist United States Champion in PowerPoint 2010.

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