On a sunny December day last year, Reginald Fluence and Derrick Woodly were busy building a small cabin like the ones so common in the Louisiana bayous.
High atop a levee beside the Mississippi River, the men used a chain saw to size their oak and willow logs. Reeds of sugar cane lined the roof.
Fluence and Woodly were diligent in their work; they had to complete the cabin by Christmas Eve. That's when they would burn it down.
Theirs was one of more than 120 structures, many of intricate designs, to be doused in fuel and then torched. The cane, a commonly used material, pops loudly as flames from the bonfires reflect off the water.
The unique, cheery event has...