Firemen, Firetrucks and Fireworks

Saturday - July 6th, 2002

St. Francisville, Louisiana

The quaint little 19th-century Mississippi River town of St. Francisville, Louisiana, jumps on the patriotic bandwagon this year with "Firemen, Firetrucks and Fireworks." Its Fourth of July parade this year (actually held on Saturday, July 6, at 10:30 a.m.) will consist of firetrucks, firetrucks and more firetrucks, all in tribute to the courage and compassion of the rescue workers of New York City and other attack sites of September 11. Area fire departments are sending both new and carefully restored antique firetrucks for the parade, which will wend its way through a sea of waving American flags along Ferdinand Street in historic downtown St. Francisville.

Grand Marshall of the parade is New York City firefighter Keith Faccilonga, who, with his wife Nancy, is in Louisiana for a week as the guest of St. Francisville Overnight, an organization of Bed & Breakfasts which is providing complimentary accommodations for the couple. The entire community has joined the effort to welcome the Faccilongas, offering completely cost-free meals in the local restaurants, tours through restored plantations, recreational activities like horseback riding through the scenic Tunica Hills and waterskiing on beautiful Lake Rosemound, shopping in the eclectic collection of small stores, transportation and just about everything else they could possibly need or want. The hope of the hosts is that a little southern hospitality might soothe their guests’ souls as one little country town celebrates survival, heroism, and independence.

Firefighter Faccilonga was off duty on September 11, but immediately grabbed his gear and rushed to the scene of the World Trade Center to join other firefighters pouring into the area to help. He saw the first tower collapse and was making his way through its rubble when the second tower came down; after narrowly escaping with his life, he quickly returned to the area and worked long hours trying to save victims, many of whom were his firefighter colleagues. The St. Francisville Fourth of July Parade promises to be a moving tribute to the firefighters, rescue workers and the public’s protectors not just in New York but all across the country.

Following the parade there will be hot dogs and watermelon in oak-shaded Parker Park, with horseshoe pitching and music provided by the lively Angola Band. Firefighter Faccilonga will give an informal talk about his experiences, and no one will want to miss this opportunity to hear a first-hand account of September 11, up close and personal. The Office of the State Fire Marshall’s Arson Division is sending its specially equipped Arson Van, and interested onlookers may view the highly technical equipment used in solving fire-related crimes. At 8 p.m. the patriotic celebration culminates in spectacular fireworks at the Recreation Park.

All area fire departments are invited to participate in the tribute and may obtain information by telephoning St. Francisville Main Street Director Laurie Walsh at 225-635-3873. The parade is free and the public is welcome; children who have little red fire helmets (what little boy does not) or little red firetrucks are encouraged to come and represent the next generation of heroes. The Town of St. Francisville joins St. Francisville Main Street in sponsoring the Fourth of July celebration.

Our deepest thanks to all these great merchants and facilities for offering special welcoming gifts and services for the NYC Firefighter and his wife:

Ins&Outs Nursery
Shanty Too
Vintage Store
Dottie's Antiques
Grandmother's Buttons
Sunflowers & Junebugs
Star Hill
Mosaic Garden
St. Francisville Inn
Clubhouse at The Bluffs
East Dragon
Magnolia Cafe
Steamboat Charley's
Lake Rosemound Inn
Butler Greenwood Plantation
Cottage Plantation
Greenwood Plantation
Myrtles Plantation
Audubon State Historic Site
Rosedown State Historic Site
Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge
Arceneaux Restaurant
LA State Penitentiary Museum