Night House

Image of the Day – Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tchefuncte River Lighthouse - Madisonville, LA

Tchefuncte River Lighthouse - Madisonville, LA

Friday past was a full moon night and it turned out to be quite clear of clouds as well. Lys and I decided to take advantage and drive to a small town along the Tchefuncte River just north of Lake Ponchatrain. I’d had an idea about using only moonlight to make an exposure and chose the lighthouse just south of Madisonville.

The lighthouse was built in 1838 to guide ships into the Tchefuncte River where cement was manufactured from the areas abundant sand and clay and shipped across Lake Ponchatrain to help build the growing city of New Orleans. The tower of the lighthouse was badly damaged during the Civil War, and was subsequently dismantled. A new tower was constructed on the original foundation using some of the brick from the original structure. The second tower rose ten feet taller than the first, and a bell tower and square keeper’s tower were built on the point next to the lighthouse.

A storm in 1888 swept away the station’s kitchen, outhouses, woodshed, and picket fence. At some point, a single vertical black stripe was painted on the tower. This stripe likely functioned as a range indicator of sorts, to help captains line up their approach to the river. You can see the stripe in the above photo on the left side of the tower – it looks almost drawn into the photo but from the angle I shot this picture it appears almost out of place.

The lighthouse still functions to this day though most “shipping” in the area is of the recreational sort and with the advent of GPS the lighthouse has become more a source of pride rather than functional lighthouse to the Madisonville community. Each October the town of Madisonville holds its Wooden Boat Festival with part of the proceeds from the festival going to upkeep and further restoration of the lighthouse.

This is a little known south Louisiana treasure that I stumbled upon about year ago quite by accident. Lys and I enjoyed a surprisingly cool evening along the water’s edge under a full moon taking a few photos by the moonlight and it was a short but enjoyable evening together that netted me a very neat photograph.

~ by rfoxx on September 8, 2009.

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