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.

Advertisements

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 

Everybody but the Coast Guard 

Hillsboro Lighthouse

Hillsboro Lighthouse in Florida is manned by the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard is the only branch of the military that is not being paid during the government shut down. They save lives and help those at peril on the high seas. Now their lives are in peril. 

elainemarieartist.com

Double Edge Sword 

Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse

Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse stands on guard.


Portland Harbor, Maine is the one of largest and busiest ports on the East Coast of the United States. Its fierce waters and treacherous rocks are guarded by a host of lighthouses. During a lighthouse tour, we stopped by Two Lights Road to view two of the lighthouses. Cape Elizabeth and West lighthouses were built in the same location to distinguish them from Portland Head Lighthouse. I drew Cape Elizabeth because the western lighthouse was partially hidden from the street. Both lighthouses were completed in 1832. 

elainemarieartist.com

Connecting the Dots

Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse

Spring Ledge lighthouse was once offshore.

You may think your software has the slowest connection. But sometimes connecting the dots is the slowest thing of all. Especially when it comes to government bureaucracy.

The government refused to build a lighthouse at Spring Ledge in 1832 even though a ship had burned in clear sight of local citizens. They had watched in horror as the lime coaster Nancy perished.  The Lighthouse Board finally proposed a lighthouse in 1891 at Spring Point Ledge when Steamship captains warned of a pending disaster. It helped that there was an economic benefit. The Steamship captains transported over 500,000 passengers who vacationed in Portland. Yet despite the backing of the community and the Lighthouse Board it took Congress until 1895 to fund the project. 

Spring Point Lighthouse is a caisson or spark plug lighthouse. It stands on a pressurized chamber because it was constructed offshore. Initially painted reddish brown, it was completed in 1897. An iron canopy graces the lighthouse. The breakwater that connects the lighthouse to the shore was completed in 1951. It was almost a century after the lighthouse was built. Perhaps the slowest connection of them all. 

elainemarieartist.com
lighthousefriends.com

Defying Human Logic

Portland Breakwater Lighthouse

The lighthouse has six cast iron Corinthian columns.


Sometimes life defies human logic. At least my life does. I build barriers when there is no danger in site. Sometimes the barrier becomes a hinderance to new experiences. It reminds me of the Portland Breakwater Lighthouse. The breakwater was built before the lighthouse. While the breakwater was built in response to a storm it caused more harm than good. It became a navigational hazard to Mariners sailing into Portland Harbor. 

After an outcry, a wooden lighthouse was built on the site in 1855. The current lighthouse was built in 1874-75. It is a marvel of imagination. The Portland Breakwater Lighthouse is unlike any lighthouse I have visited. Inspired by the beautiful Greek Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, the design makes it a magnificent and unique edifice. 

elainemarieartist.com
lighthousefriends.com