Monday, December 28, 2009

Thank you to everyone who pledged a donation to keep the bonfire burning for 2010. Unfortunately, although we came very close to meeting our funding needs, the liability and legal paperwork prevent us from moving forward.
There will be no legal bonfire this year. Anyone attempting a fire will be subject to arrest.
We're hopeful that next year we'll have in place all that is necessary to have a bonfire. Watch this space for details.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bonfire 2010

The Mid City Bonfire Committee has begun making preparations for the New Years Eve bonfire on Orleans Ave !! Due to regulations by the City of NO the cost of last years bon fire was approximately $8,000. The Bonfire Committee is in the process of organizing fund raising efforts to continue the tradition of the Bonfire. Details to follow about how you can help keep the Mid City Bonfire alive this New Year’s Eve!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

The New Bonfire

The bonfire this year was different from year's past, and may of the neighbors agree that is a good thing. In particular, the reduction in wild fireworks on the site was an improvement that brought out a lot of families with small children who often skipped or had to stay far back from the bonfire site.

That said, I personally have to agree with the assessment by blogger Schroeder of People Get Ready. There needs to be some balance between the controls imposed by the city and the essential character of the event. I want to make clear that the Bonfire Krewe volunteers might disagree with Schroeder's assessment, and I don't speak for them here.

If nothing else, we need to find some way for people to safely run the bonfire.

The Bonfire 2009

Thanks again to Friends of St. Patrick Park, Wesco Gas, New Orleans Roofing and Metal, the NOPD and NOFD, Councilmember Fielkow and to all of the Bonfire Krewe volunteers.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Bonfire Guidelines

The Mid-City Bonfire Committee asks that guests at the bonfire observe the following guidelines:

No Fireworks
In or around bonfire
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, do not throw fireworks.

Do Not Throw Items in Fire
Designated marshals & fire personnel only can place items in fire

No glass containers

Respect the barricades, volunteer marshals & the NOPD & NOFD

Be Nice or Leave
This is a family-style neighborhood event. Please behave accordingly.

Do Not Litter
Please take your trash with you when leaving

The Bonfire Committe would like to thank to sponsors including Friends of St. Patrick Park, New Orleans Roofing and Metal and Wesco Gas and the N.O.F.D, N.O.P.D and Park and Parkways Commission for helping to save our traditions.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

NOFD signs off on Mid-City bonfire

The New Orleans Fire Department told NOLA.Com it had agreed to a bonfire in Mid-City on New Years Eve with restrictions, but Mid-City neighborhood sources indicated that the agreement still required a response from the New Orleans Police Department.

In an email to participants in a meeting held Tuesday morning in Mid-City to prepare a proposal to present to city officials, an agreement was reached with the NOFD contingent on the NOPD providing barricades and closing the north side of Orleans Avenue to traffic for fire personnel assigned to the event. There was no reported response from the NOPD as of this evening.

Fire Department District Chief Norman Woodridge described to NOLA.Com the outcome of a meeting between a delegation from Mid-City with the NOFD facilitated by City Councilmember Arnie Fielkow and Shelly Midura. Fielkow attended an early morning meeting at a Mid-City coffee house at which a group of pro-bonfire Mid-Citizens outlined a proposal to offer to the NOFD to try to allay fire official's concerns.

The morning meeting followed a contentious town-hall meeting called by city officials including the NOFD, NOPD and Park and Parkways Comission at which over 150 Mid-Citizens greeted city official's objections to the bonfire with derision. Fire officials had circulated a flyer in the neighborhood announcing the meeting as an "Illegal Bonfires Informational Session."

The Mid-Citizens group outlined a plan this morning that offered to relocate the bonfire to another Mid-City location, reduce the size and configuration of the bonfire, and to provide crowd marshals and a clean up crew. They offered to post signs to discourage some activities that led to the official move against the bonfire, including excessive use of fireworks, fireworks and other material thrown into the fire while it was burning, and occasional nudity as people people performed a ritual run around the bonfire residents say is for good luck in the New Year.

Those involved in the morning meeting were already moving to recruit volunteer marshals and clean-up crew through the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization mailing list. An effort will be made to provide collection of excess trees brought by the neighborhood beyond what the NOFD will allow to divert them to state and local programs that use discarded trees for coastal restoration projects.

Friends of the Bonfire

A group of Mid-Citizens assembled at the Bean Gallery on N. Carrollton Avenue this morning and prepared a plan to try to win city approval to proceed with a bonfire of some size, at a location in Mid-City. A smaller group will meet with Councilmember Shelly Midura and representatives of city agencies later today, as promised by Midura at the Monday evening meeting.

Among the concessions to the city that were discussed and generally approved were to suggest relocation to a new spot in Mid-City if that appeases the NOFD and other city officials; proactively organizing volunteer marshals to help patrol the crowd, limiting access to the fire and trying to calm the crowd's behavior along with a volunteer clean-up committee.

The group will prepare and post signs to remind people that if they want to see the traditional continue, they should not throw foreign material (especially fireworks) into the bonfire, and otherwise behave reasonably.

I don't speak on behalf of anyone other than myself, but if you wish to see the bonfire continue:
  • Do not throw fireworks or other foreign matter into the fire.
  • Respect the directions of fire fighters and police, and identified bonfire marshals.
  • Keep your clothes on (this is a family event; we bring our kids)
  • Do not get dangerously close to the fire, and respect any barricades that may be erected.
Please help spread this message through the city by word of mouth and any social media you participate in (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

Watch this space for more information as it develops.