St. James Parish
The Christmas Eve bonfires light up the Mississippi River levees in St. James Parish each year in a fiery spectacle. This tradition, transplanted to the area by European immigrants in the 19th century, is said to light the way for Pere Noel as he makes his evening rounds. As part of the Cote des Allemands, or the “German Coast,” to which German immigrants flocked during the early French colonial days, St. James has deep roots. It’s also easy to find, midway between Baton Rouge upriver and New Orleans downriver. That’s a good thing for visitors to Louisiana, because St. James contains an impressive collection of historic plantations, including the grande dame of plantation houses in the United States, Oak Alley. If you enjoy a good pipe, St. James is the mother of the only authentic perique tobacco, a prized ingredient in fine pipe tobacco. It has been produced since 1824.