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