Let me get this straight. Because it is dangerous, the New Orleans city government and the firefighting and crime-fighting agencies, want to put a stop to Mid-City's New Year's Eve tradition of building a giant bonfire of Christmas trees.
I guess it would be too much to ask that they prioritize the local "don't shoot people" and "don't steal stuff" ordinances ahead of the "no big bonfires" ordinance.
Or maybe this is the first time the enforcement agencies have heard of such a bonfire, as witnesses have refused to testify in the past, and the smoldering remains of yuletide foliage have a tendency to disappear from the evidence room.
I don't believe any of that, though. I'm a believer in "Cash Rules Everything Around Me." The city agencies are getting pressure from somewhere, and it has little to do with public safety. I think I know the real reason: the BCS is shutting down our bonfire.
This has more to do with businesses lobbying the city to shut down the bonfire in order to increase foot traffic in places like the French Quarter. While the Sugar Bowl invitation to the University of Alabama Crimson Tide will undoubtedly bring a horde of alcohol-guzzling revelers to the Crescent City, bars and tourism officials worry that the inclusion of the University of Utah Utes may drive down the number of total attendees and lower the total volume of alcohol purchased for the weekend. There is only so much money that can be made off Alabama Slammers, after all. The non-inclusion of a school like LSU or Georgia - whose students, alumni and fans routinely drink bars dry of all beverages percieved to contain alcohol regardless of price or recession - has business watchdogs spooked.
Shutting down the bonfire forces the hundreds of hard drinking natives back to more central party nodes of the city. Not that the natives wouldn't start or end their evenings there anyway, but those extra few hours can literally translate into millions to the powers that be.