The Lighthouse at the Big Easy

The New Canal Lighthouse.

The New Canal Lighthouse in New Orleans. Copyrighted by Elaine Marie.

I visited the New Canal Lighthouse during a one day stay in New Orleans. I know the typical New Orleans visitor does not book a room to see a lighthouse but I was surprised the Concierge at Springhill Suites had never heard of New Canal. Granted she was also the check-in clerk. But when I asked for the Concierge she said she was it!

Undaunted, I pulled up the address on the GPS and headed to Lake Pontchartrain 15 minutes away. I went during peak traffic but had a smooth ride because I was headed in the opposite direction. I arrived a few hours before the lighthouse opened and enjoyed a breeze as I sketched. The view of Lake Pontchartrain was magnificent. It is one of the largest estuarine systems in the Gulf of Mexico.

The New Canal Lighthouse opened promptly at 10 am. I had debated about doing the tour because the reviews said it wasn’t worthwhile. Still I wanted the full experience even if there was no lighthouse tower climb.

I learned a lot about Lake Pontchartrain and a little about the lighthouse. Still it was a worthwhile tour that helped me to understand the role the New Canal Lighthouse played. I never realized how important canals were to the livelihood of New Orleans. It gave me a new perspective on the outrage about the levees during Hurricane Katrina. The New Canal Lighthouse was severely damaged during the hurricane but has since been restored by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.

I was the only person on the tour so I appreciated the opportunity to ask questions without annoying other people. I also had to shortened my visit because I wanted to see another lighthouse before hitting the road for Pensacola.

When I bought my ticket I was told about the Port Pontchartrain Lighthouse a couple of miles away.

The New Canal Lighthouse is operated by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. The foundation works to restore and reclaim Lake Pontchartrain and habitats for future generations. For more information, visit http://www.saveourlake.org

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