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St. John, St. James Christmas Eve levee bonfires will return in 2021

The event, which is usually attended by thousands from around the world, was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ST. JAMES PARISH, La. — The Lightning of the Bonfires on Christmas Eve in the river parishes will return again for the 2021 holiday season.

The bonfires on the levee, a unique annual tradition, is meant to signal a lighted path for Papa Noel to travel to bring Christmas joy to the children of the River Parishes. The event, which is usually attended by thousands from around the world, was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

St. James Parish officials announced on Friday that the tradition will return in their parish. On Monday, St. John the Baptist Parish President Jaclyn Hotard also announced that bonfires will return there.

"I am overjoyed to have this special event return to our community this year. I want to thank our parish council, festival of the bonfires officials, and our local leaders for working together to ensure this event was made possible again this year.," St. James Parish President Pete Dufresne said. "I look forward to sharing in the holiday season with our residents and I know this Christmas will be one to remember." 

Permits will be required for families planning to build a bonfire on the levees. In St. James Parish, those permits will be available starting Nov. 20 at the St. James Parish Welcome Center in Gramercy. In St. John the Baptist Parish, permit applications will be available starting Nov. 19 at the Emergency Operations Center in Laplace.

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