Southwest Pass Lighthouses, Louisiana

Thanks to Capt. Peter Mosselberger for these photos of two the most endangered lighthouses in the United States. These lights were built to mark the principal entrance to the Mississippi River, Southwest Pass. The brick tower on the left was built in 1839 and has been abandoned since 1871. This photo shows its distinct lean, which it has had since soon after it was built. The cast iron tower on the right, considered an engineering marvel when it was built in 1871, served until the early 1960s. The two towers have survived countless hurricanes, including Katrina. But the outlook for them is gloomy. There is no plan to restore or preserve them. The 1823 Franks Island lighthouse, a few miles away across the Mississippi, collapsed in 2002, and that may be the fate of these lighthouses.


1839 Southwest Pass Light, 2008

1871 Southwest Pass Light, 2008

Photos copyright Capt. Peter Mosselberger; used by permission.

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Posted May 24, 2003. Checked and revised July 31, 2014. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.