Santa coming to St. George area on fire truck

Every year, the St. George Fire Department carries Santa Claus on top of one of its fire engines through the subdivisions of the St. George Fire Protection District. It is a tradition that is almost as old as the department itself.

The effort is split between the first two full weekends of December; basically, parading one side of Airline Highway each weekend. Santa Claus and his helpers will be rolling through subdivisions mostly on the north and east side — Amite River side — of Airline Highway and those accessible from Airline, like Briar Place and Woodridge, Dec. 7-8. On Dec. 14-15, Santa will be riding through the neighborhoods on the south and west side of Airline Highway.

Parades will leave the fire stations at 10 a.m. on Saturday and noon Sunday, returning at 5 p.m. or dark, whichever comes first, on each weekend.

Go to or the department's Facebook page for a listing of which neighborhoods, days and approximate times to see Santa. Since all units are on-duty fire engines and subject to emergency calls, exact dates and times are not possible to predict. That also means every now and then, Santa has to climb down from the engine and become a firefighter again. If that happens, they will pick their route back up where they left off after the emergency call is completed.

The St. George Fire Department partners with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The vehicle following Santa will be collecting food for those in need and new, unwrapped toys for underprivileged children ages infant to 17 years. They will also accept toiletries and grooming aids and supplies for distribution throughout the year.

If you miss Santa’s parade in your neighborhood, there will be barrels at each St. George Fire Station for nonperishable food and new unwrapped toy donations.

Cash donations are also accepted, and checks can be made to St. Vincent de Paul.

Finally, but most importantly, parents are asked to keep children safe. Don’t approach the fire engine with Santa aboard and don’t run alongside or between the vehicles. Please hand all gifts to the volunteers in the vehicles behind Santa’s fire truck.

Christmas in the Garden

Events for kids and adults alike are taking place Dec. 7 at the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens, 4560 Essen Lane.

From 9 a.m. to noon, youngsters and their parents can attend Christmas in the Garden and check out the plants at the Poinsettia Show and Sale.

The younger crowd can spend the morning eating pancakes provided by the Baton Rouge Kiwanis, then hop through the gardens and the many different Christmas activity stations, including StoryTime in the Garden with the Junior League of Baton Rouge and Mrs. Claus, and making reindeer food.

Tickets, which include food, activities and a picture with Santa, are $30; free for ages 1 and younger. Tickets are at

Entry to the poinsettia sale is free.

CASA needs adult volunteers

Capital Area Court Appointed Special Advocate Association urgently needs caring adults — especially men and African American individuals — to become voices for children in the foster care system.

CASA volunteers serve as advocates for abused children who have been placed in foster care, according to a news release. CASA volunteers do not provide legal representation, nor do they replace social workers. A CASA volunteer is an independent voice speaking solely for the best interests of the child with the ultimate goal of being a safe, permanent home.

Community volunteers are needed in order for Capital Area CASA to continue serving every child who needs a voice in our community. No special background is required. The first step to becoming a CASA volunteer is to attend one of the following 45-minute orientation sessions at the CASA office, 848 Louisiana Ave.:

  • 10 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 14
  • 11 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 17
  • 9 a.m., Monday, Dec. 23
  • 4:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 30

CASA is accepting applications for the next volunteer training class, which begins Jan. 14. To learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer, call (225) 379-8598, visit or email

Collection drive underway for Toys for Tots Angel Tree

Councilwoman Erika L. Green, in conjunction with The Charles R. Kelly Community Center, will host its annual Toys for Tots Angel Tree to assist families with Christmas gifts. Eligible families who have completed applications will receive items based on need.

Donors are asked to adopt an angel or donate toys. Hundreds of families have been assisted during the holidays through this community effort, according to a news release. The following items are needed: bikes for all ages, baby dolls, gifts for teens, video game gift cards, toddler educational gifts and other assorted toys.

Toys are due to the Charles R. Kelly Center, 3535 Riley St., by Dec. 6.

To adopt an angel, call (225) 389-5464 or email


Contact Southside Advocate Editor Darlene Denstorff by phone, (225) 388-0215 or (225) 603-1998; or email Deadline: 2 p.m. Friday.