Sheriff warns against shooting fireworks

Says to contact council if you have a problem with law

Even though New Year’s Eve is still a few days away and fireworks are illegal in St. Charles Parish, Sheriff Greg Champagne said that his office has already begun to receive fireworks complaints.

Fireworks are legally sold in surrounding parishes including St. John, Lafourche and parts of Jefferson.

“Deputies will be doing our best to enforce the St. Charles Parish fireworks ordinance,” Champagne said. “Anyone caught expending or possessing fireworks is subject to being cited and the fireworks seized as contraband.

“We realize that we won’t catch everyone since many insist upon violating this law. However, consider yourself warned.”

Champagne said that residents should take their neighbors into consideration before deciding to shoot fireworks and that the loud sounds generated by the pyrotechnics have a negative effect on the parish’s senior population.

“While many of you also disagree with this ordinance it is still our job to enforce it. You should make any feelings known to the contrary to your Parish Council representative,” Champagne said. “Everyone should also be aware that the discharging of fireworks can be dangerous and you could be liable for damage done to your neighbor’s property or other persons.”

An ordinance that would have legalized fireworks in St. Charles Parish was overwhelmingly shot down by council members last January.

In fact, Councilman Paul Hogan, who introduced the ordinance, was the only council member to vote for it.

Fireworks have been banned in the parish since 1992, but Hogan’s ordinance would have allowed their sale while restricting the number of days they could be shot to six.

Hogan also wanted to outlaw all rockets to reduce fire risks.

Though council members voted against the ordinance, several said they were conflicted when making the decision.

Councilwoman Wendy Benedetto said that her father is a licensed fireworks seller but that the people in her district urged her to vote against Hogan’s ordinance.

One of the main reasons Hogan wanted to allow the sale of fireworks is because he felt the parish was missing out on the much-needed revenue that taxing their sale would generate.

Parish President V.J. St. Pierre said that the money the parish would receive from allowing fireworks isn’t as much as believed. He said most of the sellers deal in cash and don’t report everything they make.

 

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