Mystery of Christmas lights at abandoned New Orleans hospital solved

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NEW ORLEANS – A series of photos that people have dubbed both “pretty” and “creepy” have gone viral of a light appearing to shine from an abandoned hospital in New Orleans.

Multiple Facebook users took to social media recently to share photos of Charity Hospital in New Orleans, which has been closed since Hurricane Katrina struck the Louisiana city in 2005. The images show a dreary, abandoned building with a light shining from one of its windows. The people sharing the photos thought it was a Christmas tree, but a new report refutes those claims.

Lisa Walley Staggs, a nurse from nearby Tulane Medical Center, first posted photos Sunday of the building, writing, “[T]onight as I was leaving work, I glanced over at the forgotten building, only to see the lights of a tiny Christmas tree!”

Added Staggs: “I don’t know how it’s lit. I don’t know how it’s even in there, but it made me smile just a little bit tonight!

Staggs’s post has been shared nearly 15,000 times. Mike Arbon, another employee at the nearby medical center, said he went to investigate himself once he saw the initial photos. He too said the light came from a small Christmas tree. Arbon shared similar photos to his personal page Tuesday morning, and they have since been shared more than a thousand times.

Arbon wrote in his caption, “It’s really pretty and little creepy.” He added that his brother passed away at the now-abandoned hospital.

“[A] very nice sight to see in the window of a dark building,” wrote Arbon.

The posts sparked questions, namely, who turned the light on?

“Woah…is somebody living in there?” wrote a commenter on Staggs’s page. “What in the world? That kinda makes it creepier to me…like are ghosts having xmas up in there?

Wrote another: “Homeless live in there.”

 “[S]omeone probably setting a memorial for a loved one. Its [sic] sad but awesome,” theorized yet another.
According to the New Orleans Advocate, the lights were actually propped up by two two-by-fours wrapped with lights. The incident is being treated as a break-in, according to the report. Another post by someone claiming to be inside the room shows a couple of lights around discarded furniture, with a caption reading, in part, “The only thing scary about this is how much the City of NOLA spends to keep the power on.