Dueling barges being loaded up with firework shells

Dueling Barges Preps

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - "We've got everything from 3-inch shells to 6-inch shells," says Chuck Lucia.

Lucia, with J&M Displays, is in charge of tonight's big fireworks show. It includes two firework displays at the same time in the form of dueling barges on the Mississippi River.

"These are actually more paired. They have similar shots that are meant to compliment each other," says Lucia.

Like all big productions, this one has a script that shows where the tubes will be placed and where the fireworks will be loaded.

"These shows are generally scripted several days if not weeks in advance," says Lucia.

More than 900 firework shells will be dropped into tubes. The shells have little cups on the end of them that hold what's called a lift charge that will propel the mortar into the air. It's all very technical and it takes a lot of time to set up.

"You never stop, even if the show is completely dropped," says Lucia.

He says they'll often work up until 5 minutes before showtime. Lucia will be the guy who actually presses the button to start the show.

"Obviously you have your composure, and you're set and aware of the situation. If I wouldn't tell you I had butterflies in my stomach every time I did this, I would be completely lying to you," says Lucia.

Thousands of spectators will line the riverfront with anticipation for a 12 minute show that promises to wow the entire family.

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