Louisiana’s River Parishes Tourist Commission Unveils Alligator Mascot

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LAPLACE, La. – Louisiana’s River Parishes Tourist Commission has launched Bonfire Country, a new initiative celebrating bonfires on the levee with a new mascot. Saint, a 50-foot bonfire alligator, designed by Garyville’s bonfire builders “Blood, Sweat, and Bonfires,” was officially unveiled to commemorate this time-honored tradition.

“Bonfire Country is an incredible opportunity to showcase our unique Christmas tradition that on average attracts thousands from Louisiana and the entire U.S to the River Parishes,” said Buddy Boe, executive director of LARPTC. “While this year is undoubtedly different due to the pandemic, we will continue to uphold the distinct culture and rituals of our region to preserve our history, and Saint is a wonderful way to celebrate this beloved tradition.”

Traditionally, locals and visitors alike gathered every year to light 20-foot high wooden bonfires atop the Mississippi River levees to guide the way for “Papa Noël,” in observance of this centuries-old Christmas Eve tradition. This year’s celebration was cancelled due to the pandemic, but LARPTC expects visitors to commemorate the celebrated tradition all year long. 

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