For the first time in more than three decades, residents in St. Charles Parish were able to legally shoot fireworks during specific hours on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Thousands across the parish took advantage of the new law.
While police did receive complaints about fireworks being shot outside of the specified times during which they were allowed, only three citations were issued, according to Sgt. Dwayne LaGrange, spokesman for the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office. LaGrange also said that there were no serious injuries due to fireworks or fires reported during the holiday.
Despite the fact that there were no serious consequences this time around, that doesn’t mean that will be the case in the future. St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne said he does not care for fireworks in a neighborhood setting and will not spend a dime on them.
“Those who supported the legalization of fireworks, for the most part, I think respected the time period,” Champagne said. “Unfortunately, some did not. It is just an issue that everyone will not agree. I understand the feeling many have that it should be their right to shoot fireworks. I also sympathize with the elderly and those with pets who suffer. I will just do my best to enforce the law whatever it is.”
Many enjoyed the newfound freedom and said that it made the holiday even more fun for their families.
Tammy Kliebert, of Boutte, said all of the kids and adults she was around enjoyed a responsible New Year’s Eve celebration with fireworks.
“Seeing the joy on the faces of the neighborhood children as they lit their sparklers and watched the bright fireworks popping in the backyard was worth the fight,” she said. “Thank you to the council for giving us this small amount of family enjoyment.”
Michelle Seemann, of Destrehan, agreed.
“Our children loved shooting them and everyone around us seemed to follow the guidelines. (I) didn’t see anyone doing anything dangerous or irresponsible,” she said.
Claire Landry, of Des Allemands, had friends over on New Year’s Eve and the group shot off their grand finale at 9 p.m.
“We had the best time,” she said. “(We) spent a lot of money, but it was worth it to see our teenagers have fun.”
Joseph Woll said he was pleased that he did not have to feel like an outlaw in his own home while shooting fireworks and said that everyone that visited his house on New Year’s Eve had a blast. However, he urged others not to mess up a good thing.
“Those that shoot fireworks, as myself, need to abide by the days that it is allowed. No need to mess up a good thing that took years to accomplish,” he said.
While a majority of the responses to the Herald-Guide’s Facebook page were positive regarding fireworks usage, others felt like the time limits were too long and some said the noise was unbearable.
Patti Goens believes that one day during the New Year’s holiday is long enough to shoot fireworks and said by New Year’s Day her dogs were worn out.
Denise Tuberville-Guerrero didn’t care for the noise at all and said the commotion also scared her dogs.
Even some residents without pets were astounded at the loud sounds. Brian Dickinson grew up in St. Charles Parish when fireworks were legal and said he never experienced the amount of noise that occurred when residents rang in the new year last week.
“It was ridiculous the amount of fireworks going off all day and all night long,” he said. “I hope people got all of this fireworks overkill out of their system. I appreciate that they are now legal, but give it a rest people.”
While many are happy that fireworks are now legal, some want to take it a step further. Cory Savoie, of Luling, suggested that the parish keep tax money in the area by now allowing the sale of the pyrotechnics.
Allen Carmouche Jr. agreed.
“As in the past when they were illegal to shoot, people brought them from other parishes and gave those other parishes the tax money St. Charles could have had,” he said. “You are never going to stop people from shooting fireworks, the same way you are never going to stop teenagers from sneaking alcohol or cigarettes. The more you try to ban or keep someone from trying something, the more determined they become. Now time to legalize the sale for the taxes but preach the safety issue and set time and date restraints that the Sheriff’s Office can try and enforce.”
St. Charles Parish President V.J. St. Pierre has said in the past that the parish would not receive much tax revenue from allowing the sale of fireworks because several vendors deal in only in cash and do not report everything they make.
|Photo courtesy of Ricky Hickman|
|Luling residents gather to watch a fireworks show put on by Aaron Phillips and his friends and family.|