Pontchartrain

Heading downriver toward New Orleans on Christmas eve you can hear the bells from St.Louis Cathedral and the angelic voices of the choir singing traditional Christmas hymns. If you listen even closer, the sounds of horns playing out from Bourbon St… traditional jazz from Preservation Hall. These different sounds of syncopation… horns, bells, and singing in a blended rhythmic exchange of musical styles can only make the heart overflow with love on this magical night. But a peculiar thing happens on this night according to the National Weather Service that calls out for our attention. Every Christmas Eve winds out of the east rush from the Pontchartrain headed west toward a crescent in the river at the French Quarters… downtown New Orleans. All of this energy is pushing onward to the mouth of the river. Witnesses say you can feel the winds lift you up as though they were coming to take you away. Legend has it that Papa Noel, after his visit to the bonfires of the river parishes, leaves New Orleans from this very crescent in the river with these prevailing winds surrounding his sleigh guiding it downriver to the Gulf of Mexico and all points south. And yes the sound of someone in a loud voice or is it the wind against the currents, either way, ” Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.”

*copyright-jc2019-9-pixabay

Fire Of Joy,‘feu de joie, St. James Parish

Whenever I find myself in the environs of Baton Rouge on Christmas Eve, I head south on a little excursion on River Road following the levee on the east bank of the Mississippi River towards New Orleans. My destination is St.James Parish, some 20 to 30 miles upriver from New Orleans. St.James Parish is home to the communities of Lutcher, Gramercy, and Paulina. I’ve spent a lot of time in this area during my college years, so this is a special place for me. Continue reading Fire Of Joy,‘feu de joie, St. James Parish

Fire of Joy, ‘feu de joie’

Whenever I find myself in the environs of Baton Rouge on Christmas bonfiresStoryEve, I head south on a little excursion on River Road following the levee on the east bank of the Mississippi River towards New Orleans. My destination is St.James Parish, some 20 to 30 miles upriver from New Orleans. St.James Parish is home to the communities of Lutcher, Gramercy, and Paulina. I’ve spent a lot of time in this area during my college years, so this is a special place for me.

Even before I get to my final stop I look up toward the top of the levee and see wooden structures shaped like a pyramid, some 20 to 30 feet in height. The cross beams in the structure giving it the appearance of a ladder. Other neighboring parishes, Ascension and St.John the Baptist also have these wooden edifices, but none hold to this tradition as passionate as St.James Parish, counting at least 100 such structures built and all will soon be set ablaze to guide Papa Noel, on his annual Christmas Eve run to deliver presents to all who are children at heart. Continue reading Fire of Joy, ‘feu de joie’