Five female light keepers may be a record

New Canal Lighthouse in New Orleans.

New Canal Lighthouse in New Orleans.


Record breaking hurricanes in New Orleans often make the national headlines. New Canal Lighthouse female keepers deserve the spotlight too. With five female keepers, New Canal may hold the record for the most female light keepers. Margaret Norvell faithfully served as a keeper for nearly 41 years.  

The lighthouse has been rebuilt several times and one was auctioned. The current New Canal Lighthouse is a replica that was built after severe damage from Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita in 2005. The wood from the 1890 lighthouse is now a part of the current 2013 lighthouse.

Shattering the Lens exhibit Sept 24-October 20 at the National Lighthouse Museum in Staten Island, New York sheds light on the dynamic impact of female lighthouse keepers. It is inspired by the book “Women Who Kept the Light” by Mary Louise Clifford and J. Candace Clifford.

For more information, visit elainemarieartist.com.

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Casting out Fear

A cubist painting of the Crooked River Lighthouse.

This cubist painting of Crooked River Lighthouse is a style which the Nazis banned.

Completed in 1895, Crooked River Lighthouse is located near the site of Camp Jordan Training Center. Amphibious exercises were held at the camp during World War II. Recalling Hitler’s suppression of artists, I felt unparalleled freedom and vindication as I painted Crooked River Lighthouse. No longer afraid to try something new, I experimented with cubism a style Hitler banned and abhorred. Like the allies who freed the world from tyranny, we must cast out self imposed fears and inhibitions to be all that we were created to be. 

elainemarie artist.com

Dodging cars like a nervous pedestrian, the Biloxi Lighthouse seems to pause beside a busy highway

Traffic is a part of the scenery at Biloxi Lighthouse.

Traffic is a part of the scenery at Biloxi Lighthouse.

There is a sense of anxiety surrounding the Biloxi Lighthouse. It’s not limited to the cars speeding by on both sides of the median where the lighthouse is located. Unlike most lighthouses that evoke a sense of peace, the Biloxi Lighthouse is a reminder of turbulent times. This lighthouse has survived over 20 hurricanes, the Civil War, the Civil Rights movement and Confederate protests since it was built in 1848. 

There was a Confederate protest at when I visited the Biloxi Lighthouse.

There was a Confederate protest near the Biloxi Lighthouse when I visited.


Biloxi’s female light keepers worked heroically during most of these tumultuous years. Biloxi’s female keepers have more years of service than female keepers at other lighthouses.

A painting of the Biloxi Lighthouse.

This painting will be a part of the Shattering of Lens exhibit.


Shattering the Lens exhibit Sept 24-October 20 at the National Lighthouse Museum in Staten Island, New York sheds light on the dynamic impact of female lighthouse keepers. It is inspired by the book “Women Who Kept the Light” by Mary Louise Clifford and J. Candace Clifford.

For more information on the exhibit, visit elainemariearttist.com.

“None-but a donkey would consider it ‘unfeminine’ to save lives.”—Ida Lewis

Painting of the Statue of Liberty

See my original painting of the “Stature of Liberty” and others at the National Lighthouse Museum.


With so much talk about the gender wage gap today, it’s hard to imagine that back in the 1800’s there wasn’t a wage gap for women lighthouse keepers.

In fact, at one time Ida Lewis was the highest paid lighthouse keeper. She even became the first woman to receive a gold Congressional Medal for lifesaving. Despite this, Lewis received the criticism that it was unladylike for women to row boats. Lewis replied, “None-but a donkey would consider it ‘unfeminine’ to save lives.”

“Shattering the Lens” exhibit Sept 24-October 20 at the National Lighthouse Museum in Staten Island New York sheds light on the dynamic impact of female lighthouse keepers. The exhibit is inspired by the book “Women Who Kept the Lights” by Mary Louise Clifford and J. Candace Clifford.

For more info, visit www.elainemarieartist.com 

Head and shoulders above most lighthouses

Completed in 1887, it took over a million bricks to build the Ponce de Leon lighthouse.
Nestled in Ponce de Leon inlet, Florida’s tallest lighthouse quietly beckons you to a day of adventure. Ponce de Leon Lighthouse is the second tallest Lighthouse on the east coast. It stands head and shoulders above most other lighthouses in statue and possibly in what it offers the casual visitor. This large campus has so much to explore. 
Enjoy a delightful introduction to the lighthouse at the Woodshed Video Theater. Firewood and other supplies were once kept in this building by the Second Assistant Keeper’s family. 
Explore the original Keepers dwellings. See exhibits on the lives of the keepers and their families. Race fans will revel in the exhibits on the history of Beach racing.
 View an amazing collection of lighthouse lens. The magnificent rotating first order Fresnel lens from Cape Canaveral Lighthouse is on display here.
Brace yourself for spectacular view as you scale Florida’s tallest lighthouse. 

elainemarieartist.com

A fallen lighthouse is more dangerous than a reef. Navjot Singh Sidhu 

After falling in the Gulf of Mexico, Cape St. George Lighthouse was restored. Be a part of efforts to save Florida’s lighthouses. Visit one of Florida’s iconic lighthouses during April for Florida’s Lighthouse celebration. Admission fees, memberships and donations help maintain lighthouses. 

St. Marks Lighthouse reopened last year after being restored.

St. Marks Lighthouse reopened last year after being restored.

Only 29 Florida lighthouses remain and five of them have been declared excess by the US Coast Guard. Lighthouses have played a critical role in Florida’s history; making it possible to explore, settle and develop Florida’s 1350 miles of coastland according to the Florida Lighthouse Association’s website. Check out events at these lighthouses. 

Ponce de Leon Lighthouse

Ponce de Leon is Florida’s tallest lighthouse.


April 6-Ponce de Leon Lighthouse Day

Celebrate Florida’s tallest lighthouse. Enjoy festivities and see a reenactor. Learn about the daily activities of lightkeepers. Explore workshops for children and families. 

Port Boca Grande Lighthouse.

Gasparilla Iskand has two Lighthouses.


April 13-Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and Gasparilla Lighthouse Climb

Double your fun on this one special day of the year when you can climb both lighthouses. Cool down with lemonade, cake and more after the climb. Reserve climbs in advance. Space is limited. 

Cape Florida Lighthouse.

Cape Florida Lighthouse is the oldest structure in South Florida.


April 13- Cape Florida Baynanza

Volunteers help landscape the grounds of Cape Florida during Miami’s Baynanza celebration. Baynanza celebrates Biscayne Bay and its significance as one of South Florida’s most important ecological systems at various locations.

Anclote Key Lighthouse

Anclote Key Lighthouse last open house celebrated it reopening.


April 20- Anclote Key Lighthouse Open House

Climb the lighthouse for a panoramic view of the pristine island. Buy a memorial brick and memorabilia to support the lighthouse. 
Visit my website for more information on Florida lighthouses. elainemarieartist.com

Gasparilla Island Light restored to its former glory 

Built in 1881, Gasparilla Light is restored thanks to efforts by the local community, businesses, grants and the Barrier Island Parks Society. The non profit spearheaded the decades long task. The society received The Florida Trust Award for outstanding achievement. 

The lighthouse shines after receiving a replica of the original 4th order Fresnel lens and being recommissioning by the US Coast Guard. Visitors can now climb the lighthouse and celebrate the view and restoration.