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Christmas Eve bonfires on the levee returning to St. James Parish

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ST. JAMES PARISH - Folks in St James Parish are looking forward to the return of the bonfires on the levee this year.

After being hit by Hurricane Ida and bonfires being canceled last year because of the pandemic, excitement around the tradition is bringing holiday cheer to the area.

"Everybody got a good feeling about the bonfires coming back," long-time resident John Johnson said.

Johnson's family has been setting fires on the levee since he was a little boy in the 1960s.

"Back then in the 60s, we had music on top of the levee, we had food and drinks, just having a good time," Johnson said.

Some residents say, with all the damage left behind by the hurricane more than two months after it hit St. James Parish, the lighting of the bonfires on Christmas Eve could help lift the spirits of folks still being impacted

"It's something we needed," St. James native Willima Guzman said. "It's going to give rejuvenation to the people of St. James Parish in the area. Everybody's working hard, getting their houses fixed."

Guzman says people are still suffering, but Johnson sees a little something positive out of what the hurricane brought down.

"The hurricane kinda helped because we got a lot of wood we could burn," Johnson said.

Residents will be allowed to start building their bonfires on November 21st, and you must have a permit to build.

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