Neighborhoods light up for Christmas festivities

By Kylie Neel 

Ruston is known for their sweet peach festivals and their amazing downtown festivities, but what people don’t know about is the many neighborhoods filled with lights for Christmas, two of which are Tanyard Creek south of town and Creekwood north of town.

Tanyard Creek community is a student housing community right off of West Barnett Avenue and Wiltshire Lane, and they go above and beyond for Christmas. 

Part-time owner of Tanyard Creek Community  and manager of housing Melisa Hanson said she has been working on the Christmas lighting contest since the first street in the neighborhood was built. 

“These houses are so darling and with a few lights up on the house, it makes this neighborhood really light up,” Hanson said.

Hanson said she and her husband Hank have come up with the Christmas lighting idea to keep students engaged while going through college. Hank is the constructional manager and another co-owner of the housing community. During the holidays, students normally put their Christmas lights out as late as November and as early as the end of October.

The Tanyard Creek community offers a student wellness center and over 200 houses. There are 300 students who compete in this contest.

One of those residents, Madie Green, said she was a finalist of the contest. 

“This contest is one of my favorites because the community gets to come to life,” said Green. “You get to see the students really entertain people with what they come up with.”

Tanyard Creek offers rewards every year for their lighting contest. The “best house” wins $1,500 for first place, $1,000 for second place and $500 for third place.

Three-time winner Maggie Kelly said she has been a resident for three years and over time has collected more items to put on her house every year she competes. Kelly said she has always decorated one week before the contest to compete with the houses that are already done before hers was so she can scout of the competition. 

Tanyard Creek is not the only neighborhood that puts on a show for residents around Ruston. Louisiana Tech student Kyler Pesnell, the Pi Kappa Alpha chairman, lives in Creekwood subdivision, located just off of West Kentucky Avenue in Ruston. 

“We decorate our houses to the max so kids can come drive by our houses. We just want to see them happy,” Pesnell said.

Pesnell said that there is no reward for his community, but everyone in the neighborhood can sleep well at night knowing someone was happy to see some Christmas lights. 

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