Lighting the path - A River Parish tradition

Brandie Richardson @B_lifestyles

    Every year for the past 100 years or so, St. James and St. John parishes host the annual tradition of the bonfires on the levee. 

    On Christmas Eve, over 100 teepee-shaped bonfires will be burned along the Mississippi River, throughout the River Parishes towards Baton Rouge. The bulk of the bonfires are in St. James Parish in Gramercy, Paulina and Lutcher, though there are a quite a bit between Garryville and Reserve. 

     Festival of the Bonfires President Rhonda Lee said the event symbolizes a traditional celebrations. 

     “We have been doing it for years, and it is something we are very proud of in St. James Parish, to be associated with the bonfires," Lee said. "We can celebrate our tradition with our family, but we also celebrate our tradition throughout the world. People come from all around the world to be on those levees on Christmas Eve. It's a big deal for us to have those bonfires.” 

     The bonfires will begin at 7 p.m. on Dec. 24 along River Road, beginning at the Veterans Memorial Bridge in Gramercy. More information can be found at