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Homes get in the spirit

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Genny Harrison, left, talks to Mike, center, and Terri DeShong in the front room of Coral and Richard Byrd’s home on Orleans Street Sunday afternoon during the Friends of the Library Christmas tour of homes.


NATCHEZ — It may not quite be Christmas yet, but one Orleans Street house was decked out in winter wonderland fashion Sunday, and all for a good cause.

Richard and Coral Byrd have worked on decorating their house for the annual Library Tour of Homes since balloon race weekend in October, Coral said.

The tour is sponsored by the Friends of the Library, the volunteer fundraising arm of the Armstrong Library, and is the library’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

LAUREN WOOD / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Homeowner Coral Byrd, center, greets Sue, left, and Eddie Feemster after the couple arrived at the house on Orleans Street Sunday afternoon.

Coral said she and her husband moved their Christmas decorations from their house in Lake Charles to their Natchez house for the tour.

“And Richard says we bought out Hobby Lobby,” Coral joked.

And indeed almost every inch of the Byrds’ house was wrapped in Christmas spirit, from garland and lights hung on archways and a ceiling-tall Christmas tree covered in lights and ornaments to Christmas hand towels in the bathrooms.

All six mantles in the house were decorated, some inspired by decorations in Southern Living magazine, Coral said, and some by family.

Coral said her favorite mantle is covered in wooden beads and nutcrackers.

“My grandson collects nutcrackers, so he’ll get those after Christmas,” she said. “I buy some for him every year.”

Michael and Teri Deshong of Gettysburg, Penn., toured the Byrds house Sunday and said they were delighted by the decorations. The Deshongs are not first timers to the tour of homes, and Teri said they hope to retire to Natchez.

“We love Natchez, and we love the tour of homes,” she said. “It’s so interesting to see all the different homes, they are so beautiful.”

Michael said he enjoys seeing Natchez houses decorated for Christmas, but he also enjoys the architecture. Perhaps his favorite quality of Natchez is the slow paced lifestyle.

“It’s so different here,” he said. “Up north, life is so fast-paced. Here it’s slow paced and no stress.”

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Judy, left, and Dennis Kelly look at the garden in the yard of Coral and Richard Byrd’s home Sunday afternoon during the Friends of the Library Christmas tour of homes.