The annual bonfire lighting along the Mississippi River kicks off a sundown on Christmas Eve. Bonfires will be lit from Gramercy to Paulina. Parish officials recommend arriving along the levee by 7pm to stake out a good spot. This annual Louisiana tradition is tied to our version of the Santa Clause story: Papa Noel. Here in New Orleans we don’t have snow or cold weather to welcome a sleigh and eight reindeer, so instead Papa Noel arrives in a boat pulled by alligators. Lighting fires along the river insures that Papa Noel doesn’t get lost and finds New Orleans, along with all the other towns along the river, without trouble. In addition to the bonfires, there are plenty of opportunities to grab a bite to eat and listen to music as you make your way along the levee.