St. Charles Herald-Guide

Committee looks at modifying fireworks ban

Jonathan Menard - February 10, 2012

At a legislative committee meeting Tuesday night, St. Charles Parish Council members discussed an ordinance that would allow fireworks to be shot on certain days inside the parish but would continue to ban their sale.

Fireworks were banned in St. Charles in a 1976 ordinance.

A new proposal, introduced by Councilman Paul Hogan, would allow some types of fireworks to be shot during the July 4th and New Year’s holidays. It would prohibit the use of bottle rockets, roman candles and some other aerial fireworks. It would also ban the use of fireworks within 1,000 feet of industrial facilities, gas stations, churches, schools and hospitals.

Hogan told the committee that residents continue to shoot fireworks despite the ban of the pyrotechnics. He feels that if the council limited the days and times that fireworks could be shot, residents would adhere to the new guidelines.

Sheriff Greg Champagne also told the committee that the current firework ban is extremely difficult to enforce. He said that last New Year’s Eve, his patrolling deputies were called to deal with crimes such as a hit and run, domestic violence, a car wreck, burglaries and even a missing persons case.

Deputies must also catch someone in the act of shooting fireworks to issue a citation because Champagne said that most of the noise complaints his office receives come from anonymous callers.

As an example, Champagne said that the Sheriff’s Office received 65 fireworks-related calls on New Year’s Eve, but only 10 people gave their names. Of those 10 people, no one was willing to go on record and identify the person they saw shooting fireworks.

Councilman Clayton "Snookie" Faucheux said that he has always been against fireworks and that he believes people would continue to shoot rockets and roman candles even if they were banned by the new ordinance.

"I don’t see people limiting what kind of fireworks they buy," he said.

However, Councilman Dennis Nuss said that Hogan’s proposal was a step in the right direction but that it needed to be simplified. Nuss told Hogan that he would work with him to make modifications.

All three parishes that surround St. Charles allow fireworks in some form.