Seven lighthouses once illuminated
the ports and passages of Lake Ponchartrain. It is somewhat amazing that the remains of all but one have survived so many
storms and (in many cases) years of neglect.
Bayou St. John Light (also known at the St. John Light) was established in 1811. It no longer exists.
The first Port Ponchartrain Light at Milneburg was built in 1832. The existing
structure was constructed on pilings in the lake in 1855 but is now surrounded by the University of New Orleans Technology
Center after having served time as a fixture on the grounds of the Pontchartrain Beach property.
The Pass Manchac light on the western shore was established in 1837 and replaced
with a new light in 1857. It was damaged in the storms of 1888, 1890, 1915, 1926, and 1931. It was deactivated in 1987.
In 1838, the New Canal Light house was established and
located at West End on the entrance of the New Basin Canal. A second was built in 1855 and a third, the existing light was
constructed in 1890. Badly damaged during Hurricane Katrina and again in Hurricane Rita it barely survives after having been
The Tchefuncte River Light at the mouth
of the river at Madisonville on the north shore was also constructed in 1838. It was replaced in 1868, after being heavily
damaged during the Civil War, using the original bricks and foundation. It also survived the storm of 2005. The keeper’s
house (built in 1887) was relocated in 2003 to the grounds of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum.
On the north-eastern shore, the Bayou Bon Fouca light was established in 1848.
The Confederate army burned it in 1862. It was replaced by the Pointe Aux Herbes Light (farther south near Slidell) in 1875
and deactivated in 1945. The lighthouse was burned by vandals during the 1950’s but the foundation survives. Also in
the east, the West Rigolets Lighthouse was built in 1855. It was in disrepair for many years until it was completely destroyed
by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.