‘A Knight’s Gift’ toy giveaway

St. Bernard Parish children ages 12 and under are invited to pick their own free toy at the Knights of Columbus Archbishop Rummel Council 5747 annual Christmas gift giveaway, “A Knight’s Gift,” at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 17, in Frederick J. Sigur Civic Center grand ballroom, 8245 W. Judge Perez Drive in Chalmette.

About 2,500 toys will be given out at the event, which is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Santa will be there, too.

“We treat them like this might be their only gift,” chairman Cisco Gonzales said. “That’s why we chose to let the child pick the gift they want. We just want to give back to the community.”

Turkeys and food baskets will be given out at 9 a.m. for families who have vouchers, Gonzales said. Needy families should contact their church or school to secure a voucher. The toy distribution is first-come, first-served, while supplies last.

Although the Knights of Columbus Rummel Council has donated holiday food baskets to needy families for decades, the large-scale toy distribution started in 2007.

The Rummel Council, which organizes the successful Louisiana Crawfish Festival in Chalmette that started more than 40 years ago, has given more than $1 million in donations from festival proceeds in the last 10 years alone, Gonzales said.

About 125 volunteers organize the holiday event, which also gets donations from Operation Merry Christmas, the Our Lady of Lourdes Knights of Columbus Council 8442, and The Times-Picayune Doll and Toy Fund. For information, call Gonzales at (504) 329-6411.

1800s Yuletide party

Come celebrate an old-fashioned yuletide from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, at the Malus-Beauregard House, 8606 W. St. Bernard Highway, located on the Chalmette Battlefield of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve.

Built in the early 1830s, the Malus-Beauregard House was occupied by several different families. For the yuletide event, the house will be furnished and decorated as it might have been in the 1800s.

Living-history volunteers wearing period clothing will portray residents from the 1800s and Battle of New Orleans troops celebrating Christmas in 1814.

Visitors can make ornaments for the house Christmas tree and ones to take home.

Additionally, historian Sara Ann Harris will sign her book, “The Dance Halls of Spanish Louisiana,” from 10:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, in the Chalmette Battlefield Visitor Center. Harris will share stories of how community gathering places like dance halls in St. Bernard nurtured the culture of Isleño settlers who immigrated to Louisiana in the late 1700s from the Spanish Canary Islands.

Admission is free for both events. For information, call (504) 281-0510 or visit nps.gov/jela.

Santa on the Bayou

The 17th annual Santa on the Bayou will be held Dec. 9 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Iverson Hall on the grounds of St. Bernard Catholic Church, 2805 Bayou Road in St. Bernard community.

Santa Claus will give presents to children at the party, which is free and open to the public. For information, call (504) 281-2267.

Lecture date corrected

St. Bernard Parish residents looking for free expert advice on crime prevention measures for their homes or businesses may register for the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office’s "Refuse to Be a Victim" lecture that begins at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6, on the second floor of the Sheriff’s Training Center, 2118 Jackson Blvd. in Chalmette. To register, call Capt. Charles Borchers at (504) 278-7628 or Sgt. Eric Eilers at (504) 278-7799.

The Sheriff's Office originally had published the date as Dec. 7.

Yscloskey Bridge closed nightly

The Yscloskey Bridge will be closed to vehicular and marine traffic nightly from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Mondays through Thursdays through Dec. 22. Structural repairs on the bridge over Bayou La Loutre on La. 46 will end at 5 a.m. on Dec. 22. Arrangements have been made to provide emergency response services during the closure. For information, visit www.dotd.la.gov.

Free holiday rides home  

St. Bernard Sheriff James Pohlmann will continue the annual program in which people can call the Sheriff’s Office if they need a safe ride home during the holiday season.

The program, which started Thanksgiving Day and will continue through Jan. 2, allows residents who have had too much to drink to call the Sheriff’s Office at (504) 271-2501 to receive a free ride home from a deputy with no questions asked.

Pohlmann said the goal is to cut down on drinking and driving to prevent injuries from vehicle crashes.

As part of the program, a deputy will pick up callers and take them home in St. Bernard or, if they live outside the parish, to a sheriff’s substation, where they can arrange to be picked up by a friend or family member. Callers will be given a ride home, but not to a bar or to another party.

Christmas crafts at the library

Families are invited to the library’s third annual Christmas Craft Open House from noon to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 21, at 2600 Palmisano Blvd., in Chalmette. All materials will be provided at the free event. For information, call (504) 279-0448 or visit www.mysbpl.org.

  

Karen Turni Bazile writes about people and events in St. Bernard Parish. She can be reached at parishlines@gmail.com