Earlier this month local weather forecasters said it might snow in south Louisiana. For several days there was a level of excitement for all of us, especially the kids. We, in south Lafourche were not as “lucky” as the folks north and west of us who saw up to seven inches of the white stuff.
But, it has snowed in our area several times over the past few years.
In 1989, I remember going on the radio, local television, and in newspaper articles that in the month of December, it would snow in south Lafourche. That was the year that the South Lafourche Chamber of Commerce introduced A BAYOU CHRISTMAS!
The board of directors of the Chamber agreed to sponsor this great undertaking of having the first non-alcoholic festival in Lafourche Parish. Thousands of man-hours would go into the planning and preparation of this event that would be held on the grounds of South Lafourche High School.
Volunteers, contributors, churches, workers, and corporate sponsors were needed to make this weekend possible.
On that December we turned the grounds in front of the school into a winter scene. There was a huge Community Christmas tree in the center of the school grounds, along with food booths and craft booths, and large tents featuring local choirs and kids of all ages doing skits and singing Christmas songs.
There were lighted Christmas decorations, a Winter Wonderland with Santa's workshop and a stall for his reindeer.
In order to fulfill our promise that there would be snow, we had a large snowfield made with tons of snow delivered to the delight of hundreds of children, most of whom had never played in snow before.
As the sun went down on the fairgrounds, a community choir performed along with choirs from area churches. It was cold and windy but we were warmed by the beautiful music and singing.
The highlight of the festival was a night boat parade on the bayou with vessels of all makes and sizes decorated bright with Christmas lights. The parade lasted several hours going from Galliano to Cut Off and returning to the front of the festival grounds. Hundreds of vehicles lined the banks on both sides of the bayou to watch the boat parade.
The climax of the evening was one of the largest fireworks shows ever to be seen over the bayou.
After the first Bayou Christmas ended, the Lafourche Gazette sponsored a full page editorial filled with the signatures of many of the people who attended this unique event thanking the Chamber and many volunteers who made this Bayou Christmas possible.
This is some of what the editorial said:
“Our heartfelt appreciation and thanks go out to you, in this most holy of seasons, for the wonderful spectacle held on the weekend of December 8 and 9. The Bayou Christmas celebration brought together various races and religions, generations and genders and united them as one solid, pride-filled community in a family oriented manner. In spite of the cold, blustery weather, a spirit of warmth pervaded – a spirit of friendship, of love, of accomplishment, of togetherness – a spirit that caused us all to feel: “I am a member of the South Lafourche community and proud of it.”
We no longer have the Bayou Christmas festival and many others, but I feel we are still a pride-filled community even though we've been through some tough economic times lately.
Hopefully, during this Christmas season, we can all reflect back on some of the good times we've had with friends, families, and neighbors and remember the real “reason for the season”. We’re celebrating the birth of Christ and the hope for peace on earth and goodwill to all. Certainly, on that special weekend almost 30 years ago this community experienced that wonderful feeling.
If you participated in the first Bayou Christmas, share some of your stories and photos on Facebook or in this newspaper. Merry Christmas!
Posted on Fri, December 22, 2017
by By Larry D. Weidel Contributing Writer