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‘Flipping the bird’ Christmas lights display back up in La. town

Posted at 3:06 PM, Dec 21, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-21 15:08:41-05

DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (WAFB) -- Folks in a sleepy Louisiana town are angry about one homeowner's unconventional holiday lights display.

Police originally told Sarah Childs to take down her outdoor Christmas lights display in the shape of two hands extending the middle finger.

This after cops received complaints from neighbors about the display on Starlite Drive in Denham Springs.

In fact, one neighbor told WAFB that she could not believe someone would install such a display using Christmas lights.

However, Childs was awarded a temporary restraining order against the city – and reinstalled the lights.

"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," Denham Springs Mayor Jimmy Durbin said.

Childs filed suit against Denham Springs with help from the American Civil Liberties Union.

According to executive director Marjorie Esman, what some call offensive is Childs' guaranteed right to Freedom of Expression.

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

The temporary restraining order gives Childs the right to use these lights to express herself at least until that January hearing.

However, neighbors said they have no problem with Childs' free speech claim, but worry about the display's affect on little ones.

"Kids are going to look at those lights and wonder…  what does that mean," Todd Traylor, one of Childs' neighbors, said. "How do you explain to a 4-year-old kid or a 2-year-old kid that doesn't know what that means yet, and you try to shield them from stuff like that."