Weekend ablaze with holiday spirit

Don Ames
December 14, 2018 - 6:05 am

Lutcher, Louisiana gets this weekend's holiday events started this afternoon. 

We'll see the first bonfire of the season along the levee in St. James Parish tonight.

The annual Festival of the Bonfires gets off to a tasty start.

"Starting on Friday, we have the Gumbo Cookoff," says festival president, Jamie Vicknair. "We have 90 gumbos...seafood, chicken andouille and red bean gumbo." 

Vicknair says there'll be live music all afternoon, leading up to tonight's first bonfire lighting at 7 o'clock. 

"Saturday night at 7, we light another bonfire. And, also on Saturday and Sunday, the real Santa will be on the festival grounds."  

Vicknair says that's just a sampling of what's ahead.

"I think we're at about 120 to 130 bonfires being built as of now for Christmas Eve."


There are also parades on land and on sea, and free holiday concerts to enjoy this weekend:

Harahan Christmas Parade
Dec. 15, noon
The Harahan Police Department will present its annual Christmas Parade, with lineup at 10:30 a.m. at the corner of Jefferson Highway and Hord Street. The route is approximately 2.7 miles long, and will start at 6601 Jefferson Highway, following the traditional course westbound on Jefferson Highway, and disbanding after turning onto Folse Avenue. The grand marshal will be Jefferson Parish Councilman Paul Johnston.

2018 Annual Marrero Holiday Parade
Dec. 15, noon 
Join Councilman Mark D. Spears, Jr. and the Jugs Social Club, Inc. for their Annual Christmas Parade. The parade will begin at the intersection of Lapalco Boulevard and Westwood Drive, going down Lapalco Boulevard to down Ames Boulevard, to the Westbank Expressway and ending at Johnny Jacobs Playground; toys will be distributed on the route.

Jingle on the Boulevard
Dec. 15, noon 
New Orleans East
This first-year parade is celebrating the holiday season throughout New Orleans East as it highlights the local retailers, restaurants and shops along its trail. Follow along as the parade rolls down Crowder Boulevard to Haynes Boulevard, making its way to Read Boulevard and strolling all the way to Lake Forest Plaza. 

Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation’s Lights on the Lake
Dec. 15, 2pm to 8pm
8001 Lakeshore Drive, New Canal Lighthouse
Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation’s annual holiday fundraiser, Lights on the Lake. In addition to providing the best spot to watch the West End Boat Parade (begins at 5:30 p.m.), Lights on the Lake boasts live music performances, food from local food trucks, hot toddies and refreshments, children’s craft and educational activities and pictures with Santa Claus. The market will feature local vendors selling great gifts for family and friends. The event benefits LPBF’s mission of restoring and preserving the Lake Pontchartrain Basin.
Admission: $5.00, kids under 12 are free.

St. Augustine Concert 
Dec. 15, 4pm-5pm
1210 Gov. Nicholls Street 
The Lawrence Cotton Legendary Experience performs traditional jazz. St. Augustine is the oldest African-American Catholic church in the United States and is located in the historic Treme Neighborhood. Free secure parking is available in the church's parking lot - enter from Henriette Delille Street (formerly St. Claude Avenue). Concert is free and open to the public and lasts approximately one hour.

Ellis Marsalis in Concert
Dec. 15
The Jazz & Heritage Center, 1225 N Rampart St, 
The great Ellis Marsalis will perform with his quintet as part of the Jazz & Heritage Concert Series this Saturday at the Jazz & Heritage Center. Sets are at 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Admission is free. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

St. Louis Basilica Annual Christmas Concert
Sunday, Dec. 16, 5:30pm
The St. Louis Cathedral Concert Choir and Orchestra will present Benjamin Britten's cantata, Saint Nicolas Op. 42, conducted by Mr. Dreux Montegut, Director of Music. The concert is free and open to the public. Donations accepted.

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