It’s a Christmas drive-thru light show in Leesville

Published 10:12 am Monday, November 28, 2022

By Rita LeBleu

Christmas at the Ranch makes driving around looking at Christmas lights take on a whole new meaning. In Leesville, Courtney and Mathew Whitehead are putting the finishing touches on their Christmas drive-thru light show to feature one million lights, and not just static lights but lights that dance to the music.

“Literally every pixel and light has a computer board attached,” Courtney Whitehead said.

As vehicles enter the one-mile drive that takes them back to the highway, the radio will be tuned to the station indicated. Then the magic of technology goes to work as though the lights hear and adjust to the beat and tempo of Christmas classics.

“My husband is a pastor’s son,” Courtney said, “his father gave him a choice to work in the pulpit or in the soundbooth. He chose the sound booth, eventually becoming an expert on all things media, sound and light-related.”

He also grew up in the “City of Lights,” which means his standards for a light show has been influenced by one of the oldest community-based holiday light celebrations in the country. It was 1927 when Natchitoches’ chief electrician decided that stringing lights along Front Street would be a nice gift to the town’s residents.

She has fond memories of her own family’s holiday traditions when she was growing up, and wants her children to have those same memories.

“When I grew up, we had Hodges Gardens. We’ve taken the children to Texas for Christmas light display drive-thrus and we finally thought, why don’t we create our own. People need joy. It’s been a harsh few years.”

When she said it had been a harsh few years, a bit of emotion crept into her voice. She wasn’t just talking about COVID and the hurricanes. Her 3-year-old child received a brain injury. His heart stopped.

“Today, he’s our miracle baby,” she said. He’s crawling now and eating everything his sister eats.”

His condition alerted her to the special needs of not only her child but others.

“Not every child can get out of the vehicle,” she said. Some seniors don’t want to walk through a display. We want to create something for everyone. Who couldn’t use more joy in their lives.”

Rudolph will not be there, but Rudy will. He’s the red-nosed cow.

The display at 5898 Jwu/ 117 in Leesville opens Friday, Nov. 25, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Pile everyone that’s able into the largest vehicle.

Admission is $25 per carload. Go to for tickets.