St. James locals building traditional Christmas bonfires
LUTCHER - The saw dust is flying in St. James Parish as locals build teepee-shaped bonfires for Christmas Eve.
It's a tradition that dates back more than 200 years to guide Papa Noel's sleigh and eight reindeer. On Christmas Eve the bonfires will light up the levees along the Mississippi River.
"I'm 61 now and I've been doing it ever since I can remember," said Richard Duhe. "I can imagine people seeing this for the first time are really amazed at it, because all this work we're doing is going to go up in flames in a couple of hours in one night."
More than 100 bonfires will line the levee for miles through Gramercy and Lutcher. It's an event that draws in thousands of people from all around the world.
"It's a good thing for the economy. It's a small town. We're not a big city or anything, and that brings a lot of tourists in," said Duhe. "They're all spending money so that helps everybody. I guess any kind of publicity is good for the local economy."
The Festival of Bonfires is also set for this weekend at the Lutcher Recreational Park.