Residents in Denham Springs neighborhood unhappy with lights display

DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - Neighbors on Starlite Drive in Denham Springs aren't feeling the same old holiday cheer. Police did not either, prompting them to have Sarah Childs take down her lights from her roof. Lights she had attached in the shape of two hands extending the middle finger.

On Thursday, however, a federal judge granted Childs a temporary restraining order against the city allowing her to put the lights back up.

"We will show up if there's a serious need, emergency, fire or requiring police protection or whatever but not to oppose this judge's orders - no way shape or form," said Denham Springs Mayor Jimmy Durbin.

Childs filed suit against Denham Springs with help from the American Civil Liberties Union and according to Executive Director Marjorie Esman. What some label offensive is Childs' guaranteed right to freedom of expression.

"If people find it distasteful or they don't like it, well, that's life.  We are all exposed to things we don't like and people have different opinions, that's what makes for a free society," said Esman.

The temporary restraining order gives Childs the right to use lights to express herself at least until a January hearing. Neighbors like Todd Traylor say they've got no problem with freedom of speech, but are concerned about having to explain the message to their children.

"Kids are going to look at those lights and wonder, 'Mom, Dad what is that, what does that mean?' And how do you explain that to a four year old kid or a two year old kid who doesn't know what that means and you try to shield them from stuff like that," said Traylor.

Stuff that folks say isn't the right greeting for the season.

"I just can't believe someone would take Christmas and put those kind of Christmas lights up."

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