Lighting of the Bonfires

Bonfires on the Levee

Christmas Eve Lighting of the Bonfires

2021 Event Information: 

  • Permits will begin to be issued November 21, 2021 at the Welcome Center in Gramercy. 
    • Located at:
      1094 Airline Hwy 61, Gramercy, LA
    • Hours of Operation
      • M-F 7:30am - 4:30pm
      • Sat-Sun 9:30am - 4:30pm
      • Permits can be paid for with a check or money order ONLY.
      • NO CASH will be accepted.
  • Residents can begin constructing bonfires on the levee on Sunday, November 21, 2021.

Download Permit Application Here!

St. James Parish Officials Announce One-Way Traffic Along La Hwy 44 during 2021 Christmas Eve Bonfires

St. James Parish 2021 Christmas Eve Traffic Map (002)

Parish officials announced Tuesday, a one-way traffic system will be in place during the much anticipated lighting of the bonfires on Christmas eve. 

 The one-way traffic flow will begin at 6:00 p.m. and conclude at 9:00 p.m. with the lighting of the bonfires taking place at 7:00 p.m. The one-way traffic route begins at LA HWY 3213 near the Veteran's Memorial Bridge and continues north along LA HWY 44 (river road).

Traffic will travel north along HWY 44 in the northbound lane of travel with one way traffic ending at LA HWY 642. The southbound lane of HWY 44 between the Veteran's Memorial Bridge and HWY 642 will be reserved for emergency and law enforcement vehicles only. 

 Vehicles will be allowed to enter and exit along any roadways off of HWY 44 at any point along the route, however, vehicles entering HWY 44 will be directed to take a right only. The St. James Parish Sheriff's Office will increase policing of parking along surface streets that serve as major connecting roadways between HWY 44 and HWY 3125 to prevent a stop in the flow of traffic. 

 Sheriff Willy Martin mentioned, "We feel this effort will allow for increased safety during this heavily attended event for pedestrians and vehicles alike. I encourage those planning to attend, to arrive early, refrain from parking along major surface streets and use extreme caution when walking along HWY 44." 

Officials have developed a map detailing the contraflow route which is available to residents and visitors on the St. James Parish Government website and social media pages. 

 Parish President Dufresne noted, “We are extremely excited to welcome back this time-honored tradition to our community this Christmas. I am grateful to Sheriff Martin for the additional efforts being made to ensure this year's event is safe, successful and fun for all."

St. James Parish Announces 2021 Lighting of the Bonfires to Return on Christmas Eve  

St. James Parish officials are pleased to announce the Lighting of the Bonfires on Christmas Eve will return for the 2021 holiday season! 

This much anticipated event is attended by thousands from around the world each year. A unique tradition for St. James Parish, lighting the bonfires on Christmas Eve signals a lighted path for Papa Noel to travel, bringing Christmas joy to the children of the River Parishes. 

Parish President Pete Dufresne noted, "I am overjoyed to have this special event return to our community this year.  I want to thank our parish council, festival of the bonfires officials, and our local leaders for working together to ensure this event was made possible again this year. I look forward to sharing in the holiday season with our residents and I know this Christmas will be one to remember."

In order to safely conduct this event, permits are required for families planning to construct a bonfire on the levee. Beginning November 21, Permits will be available at the St. James Parish Welcome Center in Gramercy located at 1094 Airline Hwy. Permits can be obtained between the hours of 7:30 am - 4:30 pm Monday thru Friday and 9:30 am - 4:30 pm Saturday and Sunday. 

Permits can be paid for by check or money order only. No cash will be accepted. 

Due to strict insurance requirements, the 2021 bonfire season is from November 21 - December 27, 2021 only. No one may access the levee prior to November 21 for any bonfire related activities. 

Permitted bonfire construction may not begin until Sunday, November 21. No household construction or demolition debris from Hurricane Ida or any other storm related event will be allowed within any portion of the levee right of way, including the bonfire area or on top of the levee. 

More information, including downloadable permit applications can be found online at