Bonfires light up sky for Santa

On Christmas Eve, bonfires along the Mississippi River levee lit the way to Papa Noel.

The event has become a huge holiday spectacle with fireworks and thousands of spectators.

Residents say the bonfires have been going on in St. James Parish for decades. People are just happy to continue the tradition with some who aren't from the area and also with loved ones.

For Kendall Winfield, creating a bonfire structure is easy, but the time he wanted to create one that stood out so he decided to create a radio.

"My brother and a couple of us, we just sat around and wanted to do something different you know, we designed it and cut the firewood and everything," Winfield said.

Winfield said it took him, along with the help of members of a local football team, about three weeks to create the structure.

Folks both near and far who have checked out the structure say they loved the experience.

"It's been nice. I enjoyed it. It's been very pleasant out here, people been saying Merry Christmas and it's been nice," spectator Theresa Eschete said.

"It's just nice. It's a family tradition and it's wonderful to have family here. This year is beautiful the weather is great,” spectator Julie Roussel said.

Once the structures were lit, everyone took pictures and even traffic came to a standstill.

"This is something we've been doing. It's pretty awesome and family-oriented so it's neat,” resident Mickey Roussel said.

Part of the tradition includes lighting up the sky for Santa with fireworks.

"It's wonderful. I've never been down here. I grew up in Baton Rouge and we never been down for the bonfires so we decided to come back for a visit,” Ashley Bernstein, visitor from New York, said.