1.15.2010

who dat?

here's a little something you may not know if you don't "know" me: i was born and raised in southern louisiana which makes me a certified coonass and tried and true new orleans saints fan. now, i don't claim to know a lot about sports, but one thing i knew growing up was that you don't have to have the best team to have the best time. heck, in my childhood i knew the saints as "the aints" since they could hardly ever win a game (and anyone who says no fan would ever call their team that didn't grow up there. fans, TRUE FANS, brought paper bags to games to put over their heads if/when they started losing...hey, you gotta have fun with it, right?). here we are, 43 years into the franchise and we finally have something to cheer about! so tomorrow, i'm putting on my drew brees jersey, marching down to the bar and cheering on my saints right here in the middle of cowboy country.

so, in the spirit of the saints, i wanted to share these images and a story sent from my dad:

 


these structures are built for bonfires performed every year to light the way for pere noel at christmas.  here is the email from my dad's friend:

Bonfires have been traditionally built since the 1800's to welcome Papa Noel (or Pere Noel) to the River parishes. They light his way like runway lights at an airport.

Usually 100+ bonfires are built on both sides of the river. It's quite a site to see when burning. Usually they burn them Christmas eve and also New years eve. It's a cool tradition for the folks living near the levee.

In general they are allowed to start building Thanksgiving weekend. They stake out their location on the levee and haul in wood, etc. Some are quite innovative from a visual standpoint. There's your basic four sides pyramid (teepee style), log cabin, steam boat, LA State capital building, LSU (Block letters), etc. Some build two - one to burn for Christmas and one to burn for New Years. You don't pour diesel on the one you're saving for New years and it usually survives. Also, always good to include cut bamboo in the design to hear the snap crackle and pop when it burns.

There are parish rules about maximum size (without an licensed engineer's review), a few basic safety features (no gasoline), no liquid fuel left on the levee unattended, don't keep your beer out in the open, etc. Start dates and "must be cleaned up by" dates.

Also, there is a competition of sorts between the west bank (Vacherie & Edgard) and the east bank (Gramercy & Lutcher). Usually more are built on the west bank and larger ones are built on the east bank.

So over many weekends and many cold beers guys (and some gals) get together and build these. Yes it's a lot of work, hauling lumber, hammering and nailing with chain saws humming for weekends preceding Christmas and New Years eve.
pretty neat, huh? alright, you have your history and sports lesson all in one...i hope you're fulfilled because it probably won't happen again. (unless we win, then i will talk about it until the superbowl)

i hope you have a lovely weekend, and if you feel the urge, shout out a little who dat tomorrow!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice! I went to see the aints when Ricky Williams was the big draw in town. They played the Lions...also a pretty bad team at the time, they featured Barry Sanders. It was a horrible game, but damn I sure had fun in crescent city with my boys.
I hope the best for your team in the playoffs!
And thanks for the cool story about the bonfires. I love the culture of southern Louisiana and miss my annual visits to New Orleans.

geaux saints!
travis

Elizabeth said...

Dang at those wood piles!

stephanie said...

that sounds like it woulda been a fun game, travis! glad you enjoyed the story, i thought it was pretty cool :)