Iconic Christmas light display in Paincourtville destroyed by to - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Iconic Christmas light display in Paincourtville destroyed by tornado

(Source: WAFB) (Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB) (Source: WAFB)
Ray Daigle's Christmas light display years ago. (Source: WAFB) Ray Daigle's Christmas light display years ago. (Source: WAFB)

There's big trouble for a Christmas icon as the Paincourtville man behind a display of brilliance, which brought in several visitors in December, is trying to salvage the pieces that were ruined during a tornado on February 23. 

For more than a decade, Ray Daigle's home has been an iconic holiday tradition, covered with millions of Christmas lights in a brilliant elaborate show of joy. 

"When you think of it as a child, when you think of the dreams that you had as a child, and you bring them to life," Daigle told WAFB's late Allen Tumey in 2008. 

At the time, Daigle was talking about one of his favorite displays, his own Polar Express train. His Christmas scenes have delighted families near and far for 14 years, growing bigger and bigger each December.

However, after last week’s powerful storm system moved through the area, the lights have gone dark. 

"Now everything's gone. Not one thing standing," said Daigle. 

Daigle's home was in the path of the powerful tornado that devastated that area of Assumption Parish. While he and his wife are okay, his labor of love is lost. 

"My Ferris wheel wound up in front of my brother's house," said Daigle. "The carousel ended up in my brother's middle of his tennis court. My other carousel was in the trees." 

Daigle started his grand display after the horrors of September 11, just trying to bring a little good back into the world.  He even used the Christmas tradition to collect toys for charity.

"I loved doing it for Toys for Tots, because it gave people happiness," said Daigle. "Whatever was going on in their life when they passed by my house, they saw it and they smiled. It’s just sad that I lost everything." 

Now facing a different type of destruction, Daigle said he will look ahead and look for the good once more. 

"Whatever God has for me. I'm 68 years old," said Daigle. "I'm going to try to do something this year. I don't know what. We had a wonderful run." 

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