Thursday, December 01, 2005

Best Holiday Display

Lakeside Mall demands 'blue roof' Christmas display be taken down

07:31 AM CST on Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Stacey Plaisance / Associated Press

METAIRIE -- Frank Evans thought the tiny blue-tarped roofs, little toppled fences and miniature piles of hurricane debris he included in the Christmas display he builds every year for a suburban New Orleans shopping mall struck just the right humorous tone.

Lakeside Mall management told Frank Evans to dismantle a Katrina-themed Christmas display. Mall management decided otherwise and told Evans, a landscape architect from nearby Gretna, to dismantle it.

"Although most people did enjoy the decorations, a few customers found the display to be in poor taste," said a statement issued Tuesday night by Lakeside Shopping Center in Metairie.

Evans videotaped the display before dismantling it. The creation had sat since mid-November among a grand, more traditional display of gleaming Christmas trees, colorful gifts wrapped in holiday paper and Santa's elves on carousel horses.

Situated in a large open plaza in the heart of the mall, the display was 60 feet long, circled by a miniature train that children rode after sitting on Santa's lap. Plush stuffed animals sat atop hills with model trains running on tracks and through tunnels -- and a rescue helicopter circling above.

Bob and Jill Patin of Gentilly liked the "You Loot, We Shoot" graffiti on one of the ruined refrigerators.

"It's priceless," Jill Patin said. The couple, who are rebuilding their home that had wind and flood damage, came to the mall just to see the display, she said. And they weren't alone.

Kim Koster heard about it and brought her camera. "It's like putting Christmas lights up on your FEMA trailer. It just makes you feel better," said the Uptown New Orleans resident, whose home was inundated.

As children rode by on the motorized train, Ray Smith and his wife, Marcia, chuckled at the "Caution -- Operates Only in Good Weather" sign next to a model of a Jefferson Parish pumping station. It was a wry reference to a decision by Jefferson Parish president Aaron Broussard to evacuate pump operators before Katrina hit on Aug. 29, inundating the area.

"At times like this, you need a little humor," Ray Smith said.

Evans has long thrown political humor into his displays. "It's fun for the adults," he said.

When former Gov. Edwin Edwards was facing racketeering charges in 2000 (he's now serving a 10-year sentence) Evans' Christmas scene included a model of a federal prison with a sign that read: "Louisiana Politicians' Retirement Home." It also featured sharks walking upright carrying briefcases.

Following the 2000 presidential race, Evans included two model trains representing each candidate. "The Bush train crossed the finish line, and the Gore train was derailed," Evans said.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
  • Lakeside Mall blue roof display

    At 5:43 AM, Blogger dondon009 said...

    We're becoming a nation much too easily offended.

    At 7:58 AM, Blogger sttropezbutler said...

    I'm with dondon....a sense of humor is ALWAYS needed.


    At 1:36 PM, Blogger crallspace said...

    I avoided most of the holiday displays this year... and plan to keep it that way. There is a generic-ass Christmas village right behind our place... it's so lame.

    At 6:28 AM, Blogger sttropezbutler said...



    At 9:01 AM, Blogger dondon009 said...

    Miss ConnieJane....

    Where are you? You are missed!


    At 1:30 AM, Blogger Blogzie said...

    Ms. Connie Jane,

    Just dropping by to wish you and yours a delightful holiday.



    Miss You Lots!


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