Romaire created a life-sized Santa sculpture that arrived via semi-truck from Romaire Studios in Los Angeles—not sled from the North Pole—to command the Spirit of Morgan City shrimp trawler, the town’s classic icon.

When Emmy-Award winning artist Lee Romaire decided to give back to his hometown for the holidays, he did it with a festive flair unique to his Louisiana roots: Cajun Christmas.

Romaire created a life-sized Santa sculpture that arrived via semi-truck from Romaire Studios in Los Angeles—not sled from the North Pole—to command the Spirit of Morgan City shrimp trawler, the town’s classic icon. With the boat as his sled, Cajun Santa Claus sports shrimper boots and a muskrat-fur coat while leading his crew of three “reingators” with Louisiana blue-crab antlers, plus a multi-ethnic elf team donning shrimp-tail caps, to deliver their huge haul of wrapped presents.

The Cajun-themed sculptures include a “life-sized Santa toting a toy bag the size of a small car,” says Romaire, who leads his creative studio that works with the world’s top theme parks. Santa’s “reindeer” are three gators up to 10-feet long sporting unique, Louisiana blue crab “antlers.” The gators have been especially popular on social media (sorry, Santa) garnering more than half a million interactions so far, including an Instagram post from Blondie’s rock-star guitarist Chris Stein and Reddit ranking at #26 for one photo. That doesn’t include the multitude of views on local TV affiliates from ABC, NBC, FOX, plus print and radio media that have covered the amazingly detailed display.

This special display – a year-long project for 15 Romaire Studios special-effects artists and designers – also includes 10 elves, loads of colorful presents and more. Romaire grew up with the annual Christmas display prominently placed in the middle of Morgan City. “It always inspired me as a child,” he says, “so, I wanted to do something to excite people and spark creativity in a new generation of kids.”

That inspiration can be shared by all at the new Cajun Christmas display, located at the Spirit of Morgan City shrimp boat on Brashear Avenue, until early January.

Contributed by the Louisiana Press Association