Christmas display brightens flooded Livingston neighborhood

LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Looking down Acadiana Avenue in Livingston Parish at night, most of the houses sit dark and empty. The neighborhood, located in a "no flood zone," was among the hundreds submerged by flood waters back in August. As the holidays approach, few homes have been repaired enough to move back into.

However, about two blocks into the neighborhood, blue and white blinking lights illuminate the subdivision.

"I think they do that just to let people know that it's the season and they want to give everybody a little cheer," said neighbor, Wendy Maxwell.

Maxwell is among those who will not be home for Christmas. Construction setbacks delayed her move in date, but the light show down the road seems to brighten her mood as much as the night sky.

"It lets us know that people are here and they're going to be here to stay," said Maxwell.

Across the street, her neighbors Randall Persick and his wife moved home just last week. While there has been little time to put up decorations, the Persicks say they're sticking with their own Christmas traditions, like looking at the lights. "It's kind of like getting your life back. It gives you some normalcy, getting you back to where you're supposed to be and what you want," said Persick.

The lights belong to Andrew Thompson. He says an important part of getting back into his home after the flood was getting the lights back up. His light show hasn't missed a Christmas for nearly a decade. "The people pass by and say, 'Hey, y'all going to put your Christmas lights up?' Yeah, we'll have them up,'" said Thompson.

It's a literal bright spot in an otherwise dark year. For his neighbors, it's a reminder that the holiday spirit can come in many forms, from snowmen and deer dancing, to a holiday tune, to coworkers who help hang cabinets, or strangers who help rebuild a home.

"From people I haven't seen since my high school graduation to people who just came up off the street wanting to help. They wanted to get us home," said Persick.

It seems Christmas, home or not, is what you do for others. "Somebody has to bring the Christmas spirit around here. Why not us?" said Thompson.

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