BATON ROUGE - One Baton Rouge family lights up their home each year, but the reason behind it is what stands out the most.
Every year Donna and Rene Esnard cover their yard and home along Hundred Oaks Avenue with thousands of Christmas lights. And every year, their display gets bigger and bigger.
"Our neighbors love it, both young and old," said Rene Esnard. "It doesn't matter the age."
The couple said there isn't much of a theme to their illuminated home, but there's one reason that's been keeping the family tradition going.
On Nov. 30, 1998, the couple received the most devastating news that their 20-year-old son Ryan died in a car crash.
"As a tribute to him, we started getting a little crazy with the lights," Ryan's father, Rene Esnard said. "My goal was that when he was up in heaven he would be able to see the house, so I think we've accomplished that."
The couple said they started putting up lights in 1998 to help cope with the stress of losing Ryan. They said it takes about two and a half weeks to set up all of the decorations.
"Then it developed into kind of feeding off of all of the comments and appreciation that the neighbors and the community had, so it continued to grow, but you never lose sight on the reason that it actually was initiated and that was because of Ryan," Donna Esnard said.
The couple believes there's no doubt their son can see their lights from heaven.
"We know he's watching over our lights and watching over us as well," Rene Esnard said.
(Watch this story on WBRZ Channel 2 at 10 p.m.)