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Elf Without Jingles

Clearview Mall Santa works five straight weeks to delight children

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Clearview Mall Santa works five straight weeks to delight children

by Rosalyn Eason, NOLA.com and the New Orleans Times-Picayune | Posted: 12-02-2016, 10:07 AM CDT; Updated: 10:10 AM CDT


METAIRIE, LOUISIANA --- The North Pole is always full of activity this time of year. Toys must be finished, gifts must be wrapped, reindeer must be fed, and a sleigh must be filled with presents. It takes a whole lotta effort and a little bit of magic to make sure that every child's Christmas is special.

Leaving his loyal Elves in charge, Santa Claus always visits the children he loves at several area shopping malls so that he can check his list (twice) and determine which is naughty and which is nice. With his usual twinkle in his eye, he brings joy to the many who pay him a visit, whether it's to give him their wish-lists, or to pose for photographs with him, or to simply stare up at him in awe. It's a tradition that leaves memories for parents and children alike.

One of Santa's favorite spots to visit is Metairie's Clearview Mall. For the past 14 years, 73-year-old Galusha March III has greeted thousands of adults and children from his elaborate Throne at Santa's Winter Wonderland. The hours may be many, but the rewards are always great for this Santa who certainly appreciates his position.

"The best part is seeing the joy that all those kids get in simply seeing Santa Claus," he said.

It was coincidence that first brought Santa to Clearview. In the off-season, he's a member of the Hammond Area Golden Oldies Antique Car Club. One of the club's members was looking for someone to fill in for Clearview's then-regular Santa, who had taken ill. With his natural beard and jolly disposition, March was the perfect choice for the job. "I did it, I enjoyed it, and it just came natural," he explained.

Through the years, Santa has had many memories of his years at Clearview. He's had to develop quick thinking skills when the kids request certain unusual items --- like the time when a young boy asked Santa for a goat. Santa had to tell the kid that goats aren't born around this time of year, and that he, the kid, would need to wait until Springtime to get a goat. Also, cellphones are another popular item on the kids' wish-lists, but Santa always has to remind them that while he can get them the actual cellphone, it's the parents who have to buy the cellphone plan in order to make it all work.

Santa's visitors come in all ages. His oldest visitor was a 102-year-old woman. Another visitor was an 82-year-old man who wanted to take a picture with Santa so that he could prove to his grandchildren that he personally knew Santa Claus! March has even had children as young as just three days old sitting on his lap. "I think what those particular parents do is, they leave the hospital and stop by on their way home, and then they get the picture," Santa explained.


Santa greets his visitors every day, except Thanksgiving, for 5 weeks prior to Christmas. He has never taken one day off, because he does not want to disappoint his visitors. Some days, over 100 of those visitors stop by after having to wait in long lines for their turn. The pictures are always important to the parents, but it's the children who enjoy waiting for only a few hours to get their special moments with this very special man at Clearview Mall.

"People come here to see Santa Claus," said Santa Galusha March III. "They don't want a substitute."




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Sounds just like my mall work. It is a wonderful way to spend November and December. the joy of the children and having been at the same place for 13 years for me is the best. We get to know so many families, even remember some names. Families so appreciate that their children have the same Santa experience ever year. Several parents routinely bring in their whole collection of pictures, all with the same Santa, one gave me a framed set with 9 pictures.


Cant wait for next November

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