According to THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, A Mississippi family who lost their home in Hurricane Katrina — and got a new house partly built with last year’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree — will be among the throngs attending this year’s lighting ceremony.
An eight-ton, 72-foot Norway spruce will be illuminated at 8:58 p.m. Wednesday in the center’s plaza near the skating rink and the gilded statue depicting Prometheus bringing fire to mankind.
Tony Bennett, Harry Connick, Jr., Jamie Foxx and Beyonce are among the entertainers scheduled to perform.
The guests include Tracey Davison, 40, an assistant teacher from Pascagoula, Miss., and her four young daughters.
The family had moved into an apartment just two days before the storm ravaged their neighborhood near the Gulf Coast. Fleeing with just a few suitcases in tow, they lived temporarily with a friend, at her brother’s, in a docked cruise ship and a Federal Emergency Management Agency trailer.
Davison and Ashunti, 10, Nylah, 9, Majsa, 8, and Karly, 4, were chosen to receive a new Habitat for Humanity home that former President Jimmy Carter, among others, helped build. The three-bedroom, baby blue home was finished in September and the family moved in a couple of weeks ago.
Lumber from last year’s tree was used to make two-by-fours that were placed in the walls and floors of their living room.
“It’s kinda like Christmas before Christmas,” said Davison.
“It was a dream come true. We’re very, very excited to be in the house.” This year’s tree, which is 40 feet round, has been decorated with 30,000 energy-efficient LED lights on 5 miles of wire, topped with a massive crystal star. It was donated by the Varanyak family in Hamilton Township, N.J.
While the first official lighting was in 1933, the first Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was put up two years earlier during the Depression by workers building the Art Deco complex.