Mystery of Christmas lights at abandoned New Orleans hospital solved

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NEW ORLEANS – A series of photos of a Christmas tree appearing to shine from an abandoned hospital in New Orleans have gone viral.

Multiple Facebook users recently took to social media 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.

Lisa Walley Staggs, a nurse at nearby Tulane Medical Center, 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 Facebook 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,” he wrote.

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.

The mystery was solved on Tuesday afternoon. LSU Health Sciences Center spokesperson Leslie Capo told WGNO police removed what turned out to be two-by-fours wrapped with lights.

Capo said the incident is being treated as a break-in.

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