Thousands turn out to see the annual bonfires on the levee

GRAMERCY, LA (WAFB) - A majestic row of bonfires stood tall along the levee Monday night in St. James Parish.

More than 50 years of Christmas Eve tradition continued and that included one bonfire honoring the 26 victims of the recent school shooting in Connecticut.

"We had a little town in Gramercy and we called it Newtown. We don't have a Newtown in Louisiana, so we thought we would do it for Newtown, Connecticut in memory of them," said Bo Bourgeois.

Towering flames ignited in unison, bringing communities together.

"One of the things this event is it brings families together. Moms, Dads and children. A fun time for everyone," said Gramercy Mayor Terry Borne.

Young and old from near and far enjoyed the spectacle and left with their own meaning of the special night.

"They mean a lot to me because I can be here with my family and watch them and they're lit up for Papa Noel to find his way and get to our houses," said eight-year-old Ainsley McPhail.

In all, 110 bonfires were set ablaze stretching from here in Gramercy through Lutcher and into Paulina. The annual welcoming in of Christmas in St. James Parish is alive and well.

Copyright 2012 WAFB. All rights reserved.