Local family brings ‘Christmas magic’ to Bourg
In August, when families are focused on back-to-school priorities or trying to enjoy their last moments of summer, the Usey family is already in Christmas mode, building and sequencing props at their house in Bourg to put on a spectacular light show for their community during the holiday season.
Ellie Usey said her husband Chris Usey, who is a “techie,” was already looking for a hobby when they came across the idea.
“We all really love Christmas, and we kind of noticed that Christmas lights were becoming a thing of the past. We would ride our children around, and there wasn’t much to look at. A lot of the houses that we’d always go and look at either stopped doing it or they moved away,” she said “So, we just figured we’ll do it.”
It takes a lot of time and effort for the husband and wife team to pull off the show, which started relatively small.
“We started off not even using the fancy lights that change, RGB smart pixels. We started off just using traditional lights, making them dance to the music and learning how all that programming works. Then we transferred to the smart pixels,” Ellie Usey said. “It’s just grown, and we learned a lot about the hobby.”
Now the two are in sync to create the show, each doing to their respective part.
“We each kind of take a section of it. My husband is more of the mastermind with running the electrical. He builds all the props and does the technology parts,” Ellie Usey said. “I do what’s called the sequencing, which is like making the props dance to music. I’m more of like the creative person, and he’s more of the one who gets it all out there— building it all, running the wires and making it work.”
She said their two children are also getting into the hobby, helping in any way they can.
Although they have only been doing it officially for three years, the family’s hard work and dedication has already paid off. Last year, word quickly spread about their house when they were featured on CBS affiliate WWL-TV Channel 4. Their Facebook page has thousands of followers, and Ellie Usey said they usually have 12 to 20 cars at a time lined down their street on weekend nights to see the show.
The Useys’ full 45-minute light show, featuring 13 choreographed songs, can be seen at their house, 220 Bart St. in Bourg, Monday through Thursday. The show begins at 5:30 p.m. and cycles until close (10 p.m.). The show is shortened to 10-minute sets during the weekend to keep traffic moving, Ellie Usey said. The cycle ends at 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 10 p.m. on Sundays. Any passersby should tune their radios to 90.3 FM to hear the music the lights dance to.
“The community has been awesome; they really love it. We try to put things out there like on social media saying respect our neighbors because it can get a little crazy,” Ellie Usey said. “But everybody’s been really respectful of the rules and our neighbors, and they really seem to enjoy it.”
The family asks that all guests keep their music down, make sure the street is passible, remain in their vehicles and don’t block any driveway except for theirs.
The show will run every night until Jan 6.
Video clips of their shows can be found on their YouTube channel.
“I think what we wanted to accomplish was to just bring a little bit of Christmas magic to the community,” Ellie Usey said. “And I think they really feel it.”