Seems to me its been about 20 years or so since New Orleans has begun the fireworks on the river on the holiday. The dueling barges is kind of a fun idea, especially as they outlaw personal fireworks in the city. Of course, all you have to do is go across the river to Gretna to buy some!
I suppose the 4th on the river has its beginnings in the 1984 World’s Fair where I remember they had nightly fireworks, although that seems excessive, so maybe I am wrong.
Fireworks are not a huge part of New Orleans history. My memory was (when visiting my grandparents in the 1960s and 1970s) that we went to Pontchartrain Beach on the lake to view fireworks on the 4th. That park was pretty cool and this from someone who grew up most of the year in amusement park capital-Ohio. My mom actually met Elvis Presley at this amusement park way back in the early 1950s, when he was appearing nearby. The family story goes that a crowd was watching him play a carnival game, and when trying to wend his way out, he stepped on my aunt’s foot. My mom chided him and he gave her the stuffed animal he had won.
Sadly, Pontchartrain Beach closed in the early 1980s and is now a part of struggling University of New Orleans campus. I rode the Zephyr on that last day and like most people, walked off with a souvenir-mine was not a Presley gift but a mannequin arm that held my carnival beads for years in a place of honor in my courtyard.