Lighthouses of the United States: Louisiana

The U.S. state of Louisiana is located on the Gulf of Mexico at the mouth of the Mississippi River. New Orleans, located on the river about 100 miles (160 km) above the mouth, is the state's largest port; other ports along the south coast serve offshore oil platforms. The state's coastline is everywhere low and marshy, posing a challenge for lighthouse builders.

On 29 August 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans and all of the eastern half of the Louisiana coast. On 24 September Hurricane Rita swept through Cameron Parish at the western end of the state, swamping most of the coast that Katrina had missed. These twin disasters left Louisiana reeling.

The New Canal Light in New Orleans was badly damaged and later collapsed. The historic Chandeleur lighthouse and the old West Rigolets lighthouse vanished completely. But this was in a state where lighthouses have been gravely endangered and failing for a long time. In addition to New Canal, Chandeleur, and West Rigolets Lights, the Point au Fer Reef, Timbalier Bay, Oyster Bay, Frank's Island, Pass Manchac, and Southwest Pass Entrance Lights have all been lost in the last 30 years, and there remain five more Louisiana lighthouses on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List. (Note: here and elsewhere in the Directory the symbol # indicates a lighthouse lost since 2000.)

Before the 2005 hurricanes, preservation efforts had begun for at least four historic towers, at Madisonville, Pass Manchac, Port Pontchartrain, and Sabine Pass. Unfortunately, progress had been very slow, and after the storms it nearly stopped. It has been a struggle to get these efforts going again.

Navigational aids in the United States are operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, but ownership (and sometimes operation) of historic lighthouses has been transferred to local authorities and preservation organizations in many cases. Louisiana lights are the responsibility of the Coast Guard's Eighth District.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume J of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. USCG numbers are from Volume IV of the U.S. Coast Guard Light List.

General Sources
Louisiana Lighthouses
Reports and excellent photos posted by Kraig Anderson.
The Lighthouse People - Louisiana
Photos by Bob and Sandra Shanklin, with brief descriptions of their visits.
Online List of Lights - United States East Coast
Photos posted by Alex Trabas.
Lighthouses in Louisiana
Photos available from Wikimedia.
Historic Light Station Information and Photography - Louisiana
Information and historic photos posted by the U.S. Coast Guard.
National Maritime Inventory - Louisiana
National Park Service inventory of Louisiana lighthouse data.
Leuchttürme USA auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
U.S. Coast Guard Light Lists
Current light lists posted by the Coast Guard's Navigation Center.

Port Pontchartrain Light
Port Pontchartrain Light, New Orleans, November 2006
photo copyright Michael Rowlett; used by permission

Lake Pontchartrain and New Orleans Area Lighthouses

Note: Lake Pontchartrain is a large lagoon, 40 miles (65 km) long from east to west and as much as 24 miles (39 km) wide. At its eastern end, the lake is connected to the Gulf of Mexico by a twisting passage called the Rigolets. The city of New Orleans is built on an isthmus between the lake and the Mississippi River.
St. Tammany Parish Lighthouse
Tchefuncte River Range Rear (Madisonville) (2)
1868 (station established 1838). Active; focal plane 49 ft (15 m); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off (higher intensity on range line). 53 ft (16 m) round brick tower, painted white with a vertical black stripe on the range line; 250 mm lens. Larry Myhre's photo is at right, Dana Causey has a 2008 photo, Lighthouse Digest featured the lighthouse in the January 2005 issue, the Coast Guard has a historic photo taken in 1918, and Google has a satellite view. In late 1999, Congress passed legislation transferring the lighthouse to the Town of Madisonville. The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum Foundation is working to restore the lighthouse. The museum exhibits include a 1/3-scale model of this lighthouse, the lantern of the Pass Manchac lighthouse, and the 3rd order clamshell Fresnel lens from Chandeleur Light. In 2003, the museum announced a preservation plan calling for a 230-foot pier to protect and provide access to the lighthouse. The 1-story wood keeper's house (1887), which had been relocated to Madisonville as a private residence, was donated to the museum in 2003 and relocated to the museum grounds in April 2004. This lighthouse escaped serious damage during Hurricane Katrina, but there is increasing concern that rising sea level is damaging the foundation of the lighthouse. In the summer of 2008, the brickwork was restored and the lighthouse repainted; Donnie & Connie Shackleford's November 2008 photo shows the results. The museum has a web page for its restoration efforts. Located in the marsh on the north bank of Lake Pontchartrain southwest of Madisonville. Accessible only by boat, but visible from the extreme south end of Main Street (highway 1077) at the mouth of the river. Site and tower closed; museum open daily except Mondays. Owner: Town of Madisonville. Site manager: Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum. ARLHS USA-838; USCG 4-11325.

Tchefuncte River Range Rear Light, Madisonville, April 2010
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Larry Myhre

Tangipahoa Parish Lighthouse
#Pass Manchac (4)
1857 (station established 1839). Inactive since 1987; ruins collapsed in Hurricane Isaac in September 2012. This was a 40 ft (12 m) ruined round cylindrical brick tower, formerly attached to a keeper's house (the house was demolished in 1952). Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List. Matthew Barkley's photo is at right, Hermann Alb has an October 2007 photo, the old tower looks quite forlorn in a June 2009 photo, an August 2012 photo shows the ruins weeks before they collapsed, and Google has a satellite view. The abandoned tower began to lean alarmingly in the early 1990s; a closeup photo of its appearance in the mid 1990s is available on the Louisiana State University web site. Title to the lighthouse was transferred to the state and a $250,000 state appropriation in 2001 helped launch a restoration effort. Lighthouse Digest had a January 2001 feature story on the lighthouse. In 2002 the lantern broke in two while being removed for restoration; since restored, the lantern is now displayed at the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum. Pilings were placed around the lighthouse, but this failed to stop the continuing lean. The pilings did help save the tower during Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 (photo at right), but the lighthouse finally collapsed during Hurricane Isaac in 2012. Pass Manchac is the channel that connects Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain at the western end of the latter. Built on the north side of the entrance to Pass Manchac from Lake Pontchartrain, the lighthouse site is now located about 300 m (0.2 mi) offshore in Lake Pontchartrain. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner: State of Louisiana. Site manager: Lake Maurepas Society. ARLHS USA-582.

St. Charles Parish Lighthouse
[Point aux Herbes]
1875. Inactive since about 1945. This screwpile cottage lighthouse was burned by vandals during the 1950s. A fragment of the pile foundation is still visible, or it was until recently; the piles are no longer seen in Google's satellite view. Located at the end of a shoal near the south end of the I-10 freeway trestle over the Lake Pontchartrain shore at the northwestern edge of New Orleans and the southwestern corner of the lake. Reported to be visible from the freeway. Site closed. Site manager: none. ARLHS USA-642.
Pass Manchac Ruins
Pass Manchac Light, Lake Pontchartrain, 12 October 2005
photo copyright Matthew Barkley; used by permission

Orleans Parish (New Orleans City) Lighthouses
*** New Canal (4)
2012 reconstruction of 1890 lighthouse (station established 1838). Active; focal plane about 52 ft (16 m); two white flashes every 5 s. 32 ft (10 m) square 2-story frame keeper's quarters on pilings, surmounted by a square cylindrical tower. Building painted white with red roofs. A photo is at right, Anderson has an excellent page with photos, and Google has an aerial view. The 1890 lighthouse was severely damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in August and September 2005, and on November 28 it collapsed to the ground. Wikimedia has a photo showing the lighthouse after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and Cole Wakefield has a July 2007 photo. Late in 2007 the wreckage of the building was dismantled and stored for use in rebuilding the structure. The light station originally marked the entrance to the New Basin Canal, which was filled in around 1950. The 1890 building was built offshore in the lake but fill had brought its location onshore by 1910. The Coast Guard has a historic photo from this era, and Huelse has a postcard view from around 1906. The building was an active Coast Guard station until 2002, and thereafter the lighthouse was to be made available through NHLPA. The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation intended to apply for ownership. After many delays, the Foundation secured a lease of the lighthouse from the Coast Guard in September 2006. Work to preserve the remains of the structure began in November. In 2007 the Foundation decided to disassemble the lighthouse and reconstruct it, using as much of the original material as possible. In summer 2009 the foundation had secured a building permit, but substantial additional funding was needed to start work. In 2011, the Coast Guard transferred the property to the Orleans Levee District, and in July a $439,000 contract was awarded to rebuild the building, with contractors hoping to use 50% original material. The lighthouse was rededicated and relit on 26 September. The building opened as a museum on 19 April 2013. The Foundation has a web page for the lighthouse restoration effort. Located on Lake Pontchartrain at West End Boulevard and Lakeshore Drive in New Orleans. Site open, lighthouse open Thursday, Friday and Saturday; also open for group tours by appointment Monday through Wednesday. Owner: Orleans Levee District. Site manager: Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. ARLHS USA-556; USCG 4-11180.
New Canal Light
New Canal Light, New Orleans, November 2012
Flickr Creative Commons photo by hatchski
* Port Pontchartrain (Milneburg, Pontchartrain Beach) (2)
1855 (Danville Leadbetter) (station established 1839). Inactive since 1929. 42 ft (13 m) "dumbbell" style brick tower (the flared top was added in 1880). Keeper's house destroyed. Michael Rowlett's photo appears at the top of this page, Ken Badgley has a 2011 photo, the Coast Guard has a historic photo of the 1855 tower before it was extended, Randy Randazzo has contributed a historic photo taken after the 1880 extension, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has an aerial view. Endangered by lack of maintenance. The lighthouse was originally located offshore in Lake Pontchartrain, but a large area of the lake has been filled over the years, and the lighthouse is now on dry land. The surrounding area was occupied by an amusement park from 1939 to 1983, but it is now the University of New Orleans's Research and Technology Park. A Hilton hotel was planned nearby, and Hilton had agreed to restore the lighthouse as part of its development, but these plans fell apart in the economic slowdown of 2001-02. Jeremy D'Entremont has an April 2004 Lighthouse Digest article on the lighthouse. The area around the lighthouse suffered heavy flooding during Hurricane Katrina, but the lighthouse was not seriously damaged. Currently there is no restoration plan, but the university's engineers say the structure is sound. Located at Pontchartrain Beach on the north side of Lakeshore Drive at Elysian Fields, across from the University of New Orleans. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: University of New Orleans. ARLHS USA-650.
[Hibernia Bank]
1921. Inactive. 350 ft (107 m) building topped by an ornamental tower. The tower was apparently listed as a navigational aid during the 1920s and 1930s, although its navigational value would have been slight. Lighthouse Digest has a February 2006 feature on the building, and Google has an aerial view. In 2006 the bank was acquired by Capital One Bank. Today the tower is spotlighted with multicolored lights at night; a photo is available. Located at 313 Carondelet Street in downtown New Orleans. Owner/site manager: Capital One Bank.
Governor Nicholls
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 24 m (79 ft); red flash every 4 s. Approx. 19 m (62 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery. Next to the lighthouse is a Coast Guard harbor control building mounted atop a warehouse. Google has an aerial view. During periods of high water, traffic around the very sharp Algiers Bend of the Mississippi is restricted to one direction at a time; during these periods the lighthouse displays a green flash every 5 s if upstream traffic can proceed and a red flash every 5 s if it must anchor. Located on the north side of the river at the east end of the Governor Nicholls Wharf near the foot of Esplanade Avenue in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Site and tower closed. Admiralty J3913.695; USCG 4-13850.
* Gretna
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 12 m (39 ft); green flash every 4 s. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical tower carrying a traffic control room with the light mounted on the roof. Lighthouse painted white. Google has an aerial view. During periods of high water, traffic around the very sharp Algiers Bend of the Mississippi is restricted to one direction at a time; during these periods the lighthouse displays a green flash every 5 s if downstream traffic can proceed and a red flash every 5 s if it must anchor. Located on the south side of the river just west of the foot of Ocean Avenue in Gretna; the Mississippi River Trail, a bikeway, passes the tower. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J3913.79; USCG 4-13885.
#West Rigolets
1855 (Pierre G. T. Beauregard). Inactive since 1945; destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 30 ft (9 m) square frame keeper's quarters on wood pilings, surmounted by a small lantern. Brick oil house. Abandoned and deteriorating rapidly, the lighthouse was on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday list. Research by Digest correspondents determined that the light was sold into private ownership in 1946. The owner, Anton Zanki, once located, indicated a willingness to work toward restoration of the structure, but nothing had been done before Hurricane Katrina made the problem moot. A March 2005 photo shows the lighthouse soon before its destruction, and the Coast Guard has a historic photo. Located on the Rigolets, the passage into Lake Pontchartrain from the sea. The lighthouse could be seen from US 90 where it crosses the Rigolets near the Fort Pike State Historic Site about 15 miles (25 km) east of New Orleans. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-881.

Gretna Light, New Orleans, 2008
photo copyright Capt. Peter Mosselberger
used by permission

St. Bernard Parish (Chandeleur Islands) Lighthouses

Note: The Chandeleur Islands are a narrow chain of barrier islands off the eastern coast of Louisiana, due south of Biloxi, Mississippi. The islands are gradually disappearing due to rising sea level and decreas in sediment deposited by the Mississippi River.
#Chandeleur (3)
1896 (station established 1848). Inactive since about 2001; destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 100 ft (30.5 m) "Sanibel class" square pyramidal skeletal tower with central cylinder, 300 mm lens. The original 3rd order clamshell Fresnel lens is on display at Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum in Madisonville. Keeper's house destroyed. Capt. Robert Brodie has a March 2005 photo, the Coast Guard has a photo of the light station as it appeared with all its buildings, and the Shanklins have a photo of the light as it appeared in the mid 1990's. Earlier towers were destroyed by hurricanes in 1854 and 1893; the Coast Guard has a historic photo of the second (1856) lighthouse. Hurricane Georges (1998) left the lighthouse standing in the water 1/4 mile from the nearest land. The lighthouse was destroyed by a direct hit by Hurricane Katrina on 29 August 2005. It is reported that the lighthouse site is now covered by water 17 ft (5 m) deep, and the Coast Guard found no trace of the structure. Site located off the north end of the Chandeleur Islands in a federally-protected wilderness area. Site manager: Breton National Wildlife Refuge. ARLHS USA-151; ex-Admiralty J3648; ex-USCG 4-0350.
#Chandeleur (4)
About 2001. Inactive since 2008(?); destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 66 ft (20 m) square skeletal tower with gallery. No photo available. The tower is no longer seen in Google's satellite view: notice the total absence of land! The light was extinguished by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and replaced by a temporary light on a square platform, seen in another Google satellite view. The temporary light was still listed in 2007, but it was dropped from the 2009 light list. Located a short distance east of the site of the historic lighthouse. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: Breton National Wildlife Refuge. ex-Admiralty J3648; ex-USCG 4-0350.

Plaquemines Parish (Mississippi Delta) Lighthouses

Note: The Mississippi River has a classic "bird's foot" delta in which the entrances (called passes in Louisiana) radiate from a central point, the Head of Passes. Over the past 200 years the identity of the principal entrance for shipping has shifted around the delta from the northeast to the southeast and then to the modern principal entrance, Southwest Pass.
Pass à l'Outre and South Pass Lighthouses
#Franks Island
1823 (Winslow Lewis). Inactive since 1855; collapsed in 2002. The lighthouse was an old-style brick tower, originally 65 ft (20 m) high. The Coast Guard has a historic drawing of the building. For many years the tower could be seen projecting about 40 ft (12 m) above the water, but sometime in 2002 it collapsed. No one saw it fall. Located in one of the northeastern mouths of the Mississippi. Site inaccessible. Owner: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Site manager: Delta National Wildlife Refuge. ARLHS USA-310.
Pass à l'Outre
1852 (relocated here in 1855) (Danville Leadbetter). Inactive since 1930. 85 ft (26 m) round cast iron tower, now sunk in the mud, its height reduced to about 40 ft (12 m). Google has a good satellite view. Long abandoned and gravely endangered, the lighthouse is on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List. This was the nation's tallest cast iron lighthouse when it was built in 1852 at Head of Passes. When it became clear that a tall light was unnecessary at that location, it was moved to its present location in 1855. The Coast Guard has a historic photo of the light station in 1893. For 75 years the abandoned lighthouse sank slowly in the mud. Hurricane Katrina did not blow it over, but it loosened the lantern. By 2007 the lantern had fallen into the water, leaving only the stump of the tower standing. The Shanklins have a photo by Rob Lincoln (bottom of the page) showing the present appearance of the lighthouse. Located on (or in) one of the northeastern mouths of the Mississippi. Site inaccessible, tower closed. Owner: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Site manager: Delta National Wildlife Refuge. ARLHS USA-580.
South Pass (Range Rear) (Port Eads) (4)
1881 (station established 1832). Active; focal plane 108 ft (33 m); five white flashes every 60 s. 116 ft (35 m) octagonal pyramidal skeletal tower with 2-story cast iron keeper's quarters and central cylinder; doublet lens. Lighthouse painted white, lantern and gallery black. The original 1st order Fresnel lens is on display at the Louisiana State Museum in Baton Rouge. The 1-story wood keeper's house and other light station buildings were apparently destroyed by Hurricane Katrina; they are absent from a recent Google satellite view. The lighthouse itself was not seriously damaged by the hurricane. Tom McNeely's photo is at right, and Shanklins have an aerial photo. The lighthouse is a sibling of the 1871 Southwest Pass Light, a design somewhat similar to the offshore lights of the Florida Keys. The original lighthouse was destroyed by a storm in 1841, and its wooden replacement (1842) quickly decayed. The Coast Guard has a historic photo of the third lighthouse, built in 1848. The former front range light was a skeletal tower (1947) located on the jetty on the west side of the South Pass entrance. (The jetty has disappeared, but a light on pilings is operated near its former location.) Located on the south side of the South Pass entrance to the Mississippi, about 3 km (2 mi) northwest of the open Gulf of Mexico. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-774; Admiralty J3688.1; USCG 4-0405.
South Pass Light
South Pass Light, Mississippi Delta, July 2009
Panoramio photo copyright Tom McNeely; used by permission

Southwest Pass Lighthouses
#Southwest Pass Entrance (1)
1962. Demolished by the Coast Guard in 2007. The lighthouse was an 85 ft (26 m) hexagonal cylindrical steel tower centered on a 2-story hexagonal reinforced concrete keeper's quarters mounted on pilings; DCB-224 aerobeacon. Tower and lantern painted red with white trim, keeper's house painted white. Fog horn (2 blasts every 20 s). The Coast Guard also has a photo. We don't know what damage this lighthouse sustained during Hurricane Katrina. However, in the fall of 2007 the lighthouse was demolished and replaced (see next entry). ARLHS USA-1101.
Southwest Pass Entrance (2)
2007 (station established 1962). Active; focal plane 122 ft (37 m); white flash every 10 s. 122 ft (37 m) triangular skeletal tower with gallery, mounted along with a small equipment shelter on a rectangular platform supported by three steel piles. Platform and piles painted orange. The station also has an array of weather instruments as a NOAA C-MAN station. Trabas has Capt. Peter Mosselberger's photo. Located in the Gulf of Mexico about 2 m (1.2 mi) southwest of the last land. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. Admiralty J3714; USCG 4-0420.
Southwest Pass Entrance Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 65 ft (20 m); continuous white light visible only on the range line. 65 ft (20 m) square skeletal tower, mounted on a square platform supported by piles. The tower also carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Peter Mosselberger's photo, and Google has a satellite view. This is the largest of a number of modern range lights marking the entrance to the river; another one, the West Range Rear Light with its green and white diamond-shaped daymark, is also seen in Capt. Peter's photo. Located on the west side of the entrance just inside the west jetty. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. Admiralty J3722.1; USCG 4-12690.
Southwest Pass (3)
1871. Inactive since 1962(?). 130 ft (40 m) octagonal pyramidal skeletal tower with a 2-story cast iron keeper's quarters and central cylinder. Capt. Peter Mosselberger's photo is at right, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, the Shanklins have an aerial photo, and Google has a satellite view. Abandoned and gravely endangered, the lighthouse is on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List. The lighthouse survived Hurricane Katrina without major damage. Located on the west side of Southwest Pass, about 5 miles (8 km) northeast of the entrance light. The marshy site is almost inaccessible. Site status and site manager unknown. ARLHS USA-779.
Southwest Pass (2)
1839 (station established 1832). Inactive since 1871. Ruined round old-style brick tower, originally 65 ft (20 m) tall. The lantern was removed long ago. Capt. Peter Mosselberger has contributed a 2008 photo, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, and Google has a satellite view. Due to poor foundation work, the tower has had a lean since soon after it was built. The lighthouse stands in the marsh about 0.8 mi (1.3 km) northeast of the 1871 light, and it was still standing after Hurricane Katrina. Site status and site manager unknown. ARLHS USA-1100.
Southwest Pass Head Range Rear
Active; focal plane 48 ft (15 m); continuous white light visible only along the range line. 48 ft (15 m) square skeletal tower, mounted on a square platform supported by piles. The tower also carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Peter Mosselberger's photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the east side of the channel about 2 miles (1.8 km) south of the Head of Passes, where the several outlets of the river diverge. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. Admiralty J3784.1; USCG 4-12920.

1871 Southwest Pass Light, Mississippi Delta
photo copyright Capt. Peter Mosselberger; used by permission

Head of Passes Lighthouses
[Head of Passes (5?)]
Date unknown (station established 1852). Active; focal plane about 40 ft (12 m); three red flashes, in a 2+1 pattern, every 6 s. Fog horn (two blasts every 20 s) sound continuously during the winter. Approx. 40 ft (12 m) square cylindrical skeletal tower mounted on a square wood platform supported by piles. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, and Google has a satellite view. Head of Passes is the point where the Mississippi River splits into the various branches of its remarkable birds-foot delta. This is the zero point for mileage on the river. The history of the light station is mostly unknown. The original lighthouse was the cast iron tower moved to Pass a l'Outre in 1855 (see above). It was replaced by a light in the dormer window of the keeper's house, and then in 1863 by a light on a wood skeletal tower. The present light stands at the end of a collapsing jetty separating the Southwest and South Passes. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-367; Admiralty J3790; USCG 4-12945.
Cubits Gap Range Rear
Active; focal plane about 49 ft (15 m); continuous green light visible only along the range line. Approx. 49 ft (15 m) square skeletal tower, mounted on a square platform supported by piles. The tower also carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, and Google has a satellite view. This range guides vessels headed downstream into the Head of Passes. Located on the east side of the river about 1 mile (0.6 km) north of the Head of Passes. Accessible only by boat. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. Admiralty J3793.1; USCG 4-12955.

South Coast Lighthouses

Lafourche Parish Lighthouse
Belle Pass Range Rear (Port Fourchon)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 67 ft (20 m); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. There is also a passing light showing a green flash every 4 s at a focal plane of 12 ft (3.5 m). 67 ft (20 m) square pyramidal skeletal tower, mounted on a square platform supported by piles. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This range guides vessels approaching Port Fourchon, a principal seaport supporting the oil platforms off Louisiana's south coast. The port is at the mouth of Bayou Lafourche, off Louisiana highway 1 about 15 miles (25 km) southwest of Grand Isle. Located on the east side of the channel opposite the port facilities. Accessible only by boat. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. Admiralty J3954.1; USCG 4-16985.

Terrebonne Parish Lighthouses
Houma Navigation Canal B (Outbound) Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 65 ft (20 m); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 65 ft (20 m) square pyramidal skeletal tower, mounted on a square platform supported by piles. There's also a passing light showing a white flash every 4 s at a focal plane of 14 ft (4 m). The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located in Terrebonne Bay about 8 miles (13 km) southeast of the entrance to the Houma Navigation Canal and 9 miles (15 km) southeast of Cocodrie. Accessible only by boat. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. USCG 4-17860.
Houma Navigation Canal A (Inbound) Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 55 ft (17 m); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 55 ft (17 m) square pyramidal skeletal tower, mounted on a square platform supported by piles. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located in Terrebonne Bay about 4 miles (6.5 km) southeast of the entrance to the Houma Navigation Canal and 5 miles (8 km) southeast of Cocodrie. Accessible only by boat. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. USCG 4-17775.
Ship Shoal
1859. Inactive since 1965. 125 ft (38 m) octagonal pyramidal screwpile tower with 2-story cast iron keeper's quarters and central cylinder. A photo is at right, the Bayou Guide Service has a page for the lighthouse, and the Coast Guard has a historic photo of the lighthouse in service. This historic lighthouse, an engineering marvel when it was built, is abandoned, rusting, leaning, and endangered. It is on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List. The town of Berwick hopes to move this lighthouse to its Lighthouse Park, but there are no definite plans for accomplishing this feat. The Coast Guard has mounted two quick-flashing white obstruction warning lights on the corners of the lower platform at a focal plane of 17 ft (5 m). Located about 35 mi (55 km) southwest of Cocodrie and about 20 mi (13 km) offshore. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-759; USCG 4-0730.
Ship Shoal Light
Ship Shoal Light, Gulf of Mexico
unattributed (U.S. Coast Guard?) photo
from Lighthouse Explorer

St. Mary Parish Lighthouses
Point au Fer Reef (2)
1975 (station established 1916). Active; focal plane 44 m (13 ft); white flash every 5 s. 44 ft (13 m) skeletal tower. The tower also carries a square daymark painted green. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view of this area. The Coast Guard has a 1945 photo of the original lighthouse and a 1974 aerial photo taken shortly before the light station was deactivated. The station was burned in September 1976 after the South Lafourche Cultural and Historical Society declined ownership. Located in the entrance to Atchafalaya Bay about 3 miles (5 km) northwest of Point Au Fer Island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS USA-613; Admiralty J3978; USCG 4-0755.
* Southwest Reef (relocated to Berwick)
1858. Inactive since 1916. 40 ft (12 m) square cast iron tower on four iron pilings. Entire structure painted bright red. Jimmy Emerson's photo is at right, C. Hanchey has a closeup, Patrick Feller has a nice 2010 photo, the Coast Guard has a historic photo of the original light station, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse has an unusual design, although the North Pierhead Light at Erie, Pennsylvania, built about the same time, is somewhat similar. The lighthouse was relocated in 1987 from Atchafalaya Bay to the Everett S. Berry Lighthouse Park on the western bank of the Atchafalaya River in Berwick, across the river from Morgan City. In 2002 the city repainted and restored the tower and made improvements to the surrounding park. A Fresnel lens and fog bell of uncertain origin are displayed nearby at the town hall. Located on Bellview Front Street at Lima Street in Berwick, across the bayou from Morgan City. Site open daily, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Town of Berwick. ARLHS USA-780.

Calcasieu Parish Lighthouses
Calcasieu Channel D Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 63 ft (19 m); red light at night and white by day, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. 63 ft (19 m) square pyramidal skeletal tower, mounted on a square platform supported by piles. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. The range guides vessels following the dredged Calcasieu Ship Channel across Calcasieu Lake to the city and port of Lake Charles. Opened in the 1920s, the channel has a depth of 40 ft (12 m) and stretches for 30 miles (48 km) from the Gulf. Located on the east side of the Calcasieu Waterway and north of the Intracoastal Waterway, in marshland opposite the end of Burton Shipyard Road. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. Site status unknown. Admiralty J3991.06; USCG 4-21750.
Southwest Reef Light
Southwest Reef Light, Berwick, January 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Jimmy Emerson

Cameron Parish Lighthouses
Calcasieu Channel A Range Rear (Calcasieu Pass)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 90 ft (27 m); continuous red light. 90 ft (27 m) square pyramidal skeletal tower, mounted on a square platform supported by piles. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This light is the successor to the 1876 Calcasieu River lighthouse, which was very similar to Southwest Reef light. The Calcasieu Channel is a dredged waterway through the pass and Calcasieu Lake to the city of Lake Charles. Located on the west side of the waterway, inside the pass, about 1.5 miles (2.5 km) north of the entrance. Accessible only by boat, but there is a good view from LA 27, which follows the west side of the channel. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J3988.1; USCG 4-21335.
Sabine Pass
1856 (Danville Leadbetter). Inactive since 1952. 75 ft (23 m) brick tower with eight brick "buttresses" giving the tower the appearance of an old-fashioned rocket. Keeper's quarters burned in 1976. Endangered by neglect, the lighthouse is on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List. Capt. Peter Mosselberger's photo is at right, a 2007 closeup is available, the Digest featured the lighthouse in a 1997 article, Houma Today has an October 2010 article, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, and Google has a satellite view. In May 2001 the light station's owners, two businessmen in Houston, donated the property to the Cameron Parish Alliance, which began fundraising to restore the light station as a historical museum. In 1999 the state wildlife agency built an unpaved road along the levee from LA 82 to a point across a bayou from the lighthouse, and in 2000 a federal grant and private donations were secured to build turnouts along highway 82 from which the lighthouse can be seen. In 2002, engineers advised that cracks and eroded mortar threaten the tower with collapse and recommended that metal bands be used to hold it together until it can be restored. The Louisiana Preservation Alliance has identified the building as one of the state's ten most endangered historic sites. In 2006, Cheniere Energy agreed to extend an all-weather road from its liquified natural gas terminal upsteam to the lighthouse. There's been no work on the lighthouse since the area was hit by Hurricane Rita in 2005, but in 2010 the Alliance began work on a new fund drive. Located on the east side of the Sabine River entrance off LA 82. The access road, four miles (6.5 km) long, may not be passable in wet weather; it ends at a bayou that blocks public access to the lighthouse itself. Site and tower closed. The lighthouse is distantly visible from the Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site in Sabine Pass, Texas, across the Sabine River. Owner: Cameron Parish. Site manager: Cameron Preservation Alliance. ARLHS USA-714.
Sabine Pass East Jetty (2)
Date unknown (station established 1924). Active; focal plane 42 ft (13 m); continuous white light. 33 ft (10 m) square cylindrical skeletal tower. Fog horn (two blasts every 20 s) sounds continuously during the winter. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo. The original lighthouse, seen in a Coast Guard photo, was still standing into the 1990s, but we do not know when it was replaced. The Sabine River forms part of the boundary between Louisiana and Texas. The east jetty, in Louisiana, is about 3.5 miles (6 km) long, and much of it is underwater at high tide. Located at the end of the jetty. Accessible only by boat. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS USA-713; Admiralty J4000; USCG 4-1105.
Sabine Jetty Range (Range B) Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 50 ft (15 m); red light occulting once every 4 s, visible only on the range line. 50 ft (15 m) square pyramidal skeletal tower, mounted on a square platform supported by piles. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, and Google has a satellite view. The range guides vessels in the channel between the east and west jetties. Located just off the east bank of the river a short distance north of the base of the east jetty. Accessible only by boat. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J4006.1; USCG 4-22480.

Sabine Pass Light, Cameron Parish, February 2010
photo copyright Capt. Peter Mosselberger
used by permission

Information on lost lighthouses:

  • Amite River (1880-1934), Lake Maurepas. ARLHS USA-1099.
  • Balize (1700s), Spanish tower at the mouth of the Mississippi. ARLHS USA-1230.
  • Barataria Bay (1897-1945). ARLHS USA-035.
  • Bayou Bonfouca (1848-1862), Lake Pontchartrain. ARLHS USA-070.
  • Bayou St. John (1811-1878), Lake Pontchartrain. ARLHS USA-044.
  • Calcasieu River (1876-1940). ARLHS USA-101. Huelse has a historic postcard view.
  • East Rigolets (1833-1923), Rigolets channel. ARLHS USA-261. Ruins of this lighthouse are said to be visible in the water.
  • Oyster Bay (1904-1970s), Gulf of Mexico. ARLHS USA-575.
  • Point Defer (1827-1859), Atchafalaya Bay. ARLHS USA-1231.
  • Proctorsville (1848-1860), Lake Borgne. ARLHS USA-1232.
  • Shell Keys (1859-1867), Vermilion Bay entrance. ARLHS USA-1233.
  • Timbalier Bay (1857-1985), Gulf of Mexico. ARLHS USA-850.
  • Trinity Shoal (1873; never completed), Atchafalaya Bay
  • Vermilion Bay (1841-1855), Vermilion Bay. ARLHS USA-1234.

Notable faux lighthouses:

  • Kenner Laketown (2000), Lake Pontchartrain in Kenner. This lighthouse is probably active, but it is not recognized as an official aid to navigation. Google has an aerial view. The building is the centerpiece of a city park; it serves as a concession stand Tuesday through Sunday.

Adjoining pages: East: Mississippi | West: Texas

Return to the Lighthouse Directory index

Posted November 23, 2002. Checked and revised July 19, 2013. Lighthouses: 31. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.