For Immediate Release: Dec. 30, 2009
Contact: Virginia Blanque (504) 416-1429
Who knew that the New Year’s Baby had elves? The Mid-City Bonfire was saved, a decades old tradition which city officials had threaten to quash this year, after a small band of Mid-Citizens dedicated themselves to finding a solution the city would approve.
The New Orleans Fire Department issued a flyer to the media and leafleted area homes for a meeting to discuss what it called “The Illegal Bonfire” at a local church on Monday, Dec. 22. Over 150 supporters of the Mid-City bonfire hooted down official’s suggestion that a safe fire was not possible and challenged the city to respect local city tradition. After Council member Shelly Midura promised a quick follow up meeting with city agencies, a small ad hoc committee of area residents met the following morning, with Council Vice President Arnie Fielkow in attendance, and produced a proposal for a revamped bonfire.
A small delegation was sent to City Hall, and won preliminary approval of city officials. The fire department imposed conditions that will change the bonfire from the event of recent years. A double row of barricades will be erected around the fire, and only the fire department will be allowed to add Christmas Trees to the fire. The ad hoc group of Mid-City residents had to produce a metal fire box and a 20×20 foot square of expensive welder’s cloth to protect the neutral ground.
The neighborhood responded by finding a donor of a firebox, the required fire-proof cloths, and organized bonfire marshals to help with the event as well as a clean-up crew of area volunteers to supplement the neighbors who have cleaned up after the event for years.
The citizens who worked frantically around the Christmas holiday to work out a compromise wish to thank the New Orleans Fire Department, the New Orleans Police Department and the Parks and Parkways Commission for their willingness to find a compromise. Also, thank you to New Orleans Roofing and Metal for volunteering to build a metal fire pit, John Cummings for your support in obtaining the necessary insurance and to the Friends of St. Patrick Park organization which agreed to request the necessary permits.
The Mid-City Bonfire Committee requests that visitors to the Bonfire observe the following:
The Mid-City Bonfire Committee Guidelines
- No Fireworks In or around bonfire
City Ordinance No. 123-45.a
The N.O.F.D. will extinguish the fire immediately if fireworks are tossed into the fire. If you want to see this tradition continued, no fireworks.
- Do Not Throw Items in Fire
Only fire personnel only can place items in fire.
If you bring a tree place it in the designated area.
- No Glass Containers
- Respect the barricades, volunteer marshals & the NOPD & NOFD
- Be Nice or Leave
This is a family-friendly neighborhood event. Please behave accordingly.