Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Eve Fires Along the Mississippi Levee in Louisiana

Last week we spent Christmas weekend in New Orleans.  This was our third visit to that city in two years, and we can't get enough of it. 

Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA, December 23, 2011
New Orleans must have the highest per capita concentration of artists and creative types in the country.  I wasn't surprised that our waiter at dinner Sunday evening is completing a doctorate in cinematic history at Tulane. 

Street Performer/Mime

Trumpeter Leon Brown and son play a duet at the Hotel Sonesta, December 23, 2011
Before the trip, I telephoned our friend, Jenny, for some suggestions about what to do that is uniquely Louisiana during our holiday visit.  Jenny is a native New Orleanian, and transplanted with her family to New Hampshire in the mid-1990's. One of the things she suggested is a visit to the Christmas eve bonfires along the levee. 

A web search led me to a Grayhound Bus tour from New Orleans to Gramercy, LA.  Five buses filled with 50 passengers each headed out at 5:00 PM for the hour trip up the Mississippi shore.  We arrived well before the first tower was ignited.  Gramercy must be more or less central to this celebration, because from the spot the bus let its passengers out, the towering wooden pyramids, around 15 or more feet tall, extended in both directs up and down the levee as far as I could see.  Apparently on signal, at around 7:00PM, the towers ignited.  There were firecrackers in the tower closest to us, and they discharged in rapid succession.  Near and far, fire works shot into the air for the next hour or so. Here are the best images from my evening of celebration.

The towering pyramid structures are spaced approximately 100 feet apart, and extend as far as the eye can see.
I like the way the heat distorts the images of the distant fireworks, photographed with a 135mm lens on a Canon 40D.  It makes them look almost impressionistic.

No comments: