Families in St. James Parish coming to terms with cancellation of levee bonfires
ST. JAMES PARISH – Some families in St. James Parish are doing something they've never done before. They’re taking down their bonfire they just built on the levee before burning them. The Christmas Eve bonfires on the levee event has been canceled, forcing homeowners to find a new way to get in the holiday spirit.
“It'll be a different Christmas, but maybe that's what we need this year is for life to slow down,” Gidget Oubre said.
Oubre spent the afternoon putting up Christmas decorations on her front porch. Normally, during this time of the year, she would be consumed with making sure her family's bonfire was being built. A month ago she decided not to have a bonfire this year, knowing it would be difficult amid the pandemic.
"Sometimes you have to give up your wants for the greater good,” Oubre said.
It’s a decision Oubre is happy with now that the parish president announced there won’t be any bonfires this year. Pete Dufresne said it would be too hard to crowd control, likely making the annual event a COVID-19 super spreader. The parish’s COVID positivity rate is also at 16 percent.
"I don't think anyone is familiar with taking [the bonfires] down, we're just familiar with erecting them,” Oubre said.
That's what Ethan St. Pierre is doing. On Thursday, he placed wood back on his trailer after hearing the news. St. Pierre works for a company that was set to build three bonfires for families.
"I'm glad I'm not taking it down from a full bonfire right now, I'm glad it got canceled when it did,” St. Pierre said.
Others will have a lot more to deconstruct as homeowners in St. James Parish adjust to a new way of celebrating the holidays.
Each bonfire site has until Dec. 16 to pick up any and all materials. Anything left behind will be cleared from the levee.