Bonfires on the Levee for Papa Noel

The locals of St. James Parish, Louisiana have their own unique, long-standing tradition. On Christmas Eve they light teepee-shaped pyres on fire, some of which are packed with fireworks as kindling.

Throughout the entire month of December, local families work together to build the pyres. Most of the pyres are the traditional shape, but over the the years, the shape has varied to reflect popular cultural or political themes of significance for that year. Recent examples include gigantic log replica of a New Orleans Saints helmet, Budweiser bottles, trains, and a particularly poignant “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” figure in 2014 to commemorate Michael Brown and the tragedy in Ferguson.

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