It’s an old Christmas tradition in St. James parish to light bonfires along the levee to guide the Cajun Santa in safe. The river gets foggy this time of year, and a twenty two foot long, 7 foot tall flaming snapping turtle will be among the decorative bonfires set out along the Mississippi. One of the engineers responsible, Josh Weidert, says he and his friends have been working on their new project for a few months…
"Every year we go into the swamps and cut trees or we go back to the levee and cut logs."
The turtle features a pulley system that rotates its head, and opens its mouth. Weidert says the innovation was spurred by a new challenge presented by drones.
"Now that people have these drones we have to build three dimensional things, kind of challenge our ingenuity and creativity."
Weidert says it’s an old tradition aimed at getting kids in bed.
"At night time we'd sit on the levees watching the bonfires burning and probably look up at the sky and see a plane or something, and our parents would tell us it was Santa Claus. It's how they would get us to go to sleep so they could stay up and drink more jungle juice."