Christmas Eve Bonfires: Lutcher/Gramercy, Louisiana

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It’s the tradition in a few towns along the Mississippi, like Lutcher and Gramercy to build extravagant wooden pyres to be lighted on Christmas Eve to guide Papa Noel through the night. (Just so you know – down here in the bayou his sleigh is pulled by alligators or maybe egrets.)
We arrived in Gramercy just at sunset, found a parking space downtown, and walked two or three blocks to the levee where the pyres were built.  If you look closely at the lower right hand corner of the picture below you can get a sense of how the row of wooden structures went on as far as we could see. There could have easily been over a hundred. 
Most were the very formal pyramid shape above, 
but some were covered with dry grasses and/or red paper. 

While everyone waited for 7:00, the official lighting time, we walked along the levee looking at all the pyres and people celebrating. Fireworks were going off all around us, many much closer than we were used to. This group had quite a stash, only a few feet from their small pre-bonfire. 

 A few minutes before 7:00, one by one, starting at the bridge crossing the Mississippi, 
the bonfires were lighted.