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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“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 

The Pursuit of Happiness is Written in Our DNA 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal by their Creator, that they are endowed with certain inalienable Rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” 

Amelia Island Lighthouse

I traveled less than 2 hours to paint my first lighthouse.


Lofty words from the US Constitution. I read somewhere that the “Pursuit of Happiness” is written in Americans’ DNA—we are wired never to be content. To always be grasping for something more, is this the American Dream? Or perhaps it is the foundation of our capitalist society. Or maybe it is what propels that American spirit within us to achieve the greater good. 

Trinity Lightship in London.

I journeyed to London to paint this lightship.


I thought of this recently as I prepared for my Retrospective Exhibit called the “Pursuit of Happiness.” Sometimes times we are like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz looking for happiness in distant places. But often our happiness is found within arms reach or by the click of two heels. I’ve traveled the world pursuing happiness only to find it eluding me. Now, however I’ve discovered that for me happiness is simplicity. It is a life devoid of the distractions of consumerism and just simply pursuing God, serving others and quietly dipping my brush in paint. 

Brush on Fire 

Every artist dips in her soul, and paints her own nature into her pictures.” Henry Ward Beecher

Unlike a brush fire that fuels wildfires, I am dipping a brush into my soul to help preserve a park. Partner with me and “Paint the Parks” to conserve nature for the enjoyment and benefit of present and future generations. 

Ten percent of the proceeds from the art on my “Paint the Parks” page will go to the Friends of St Marks Wildlife Refuge. It is a 501 (c) non profit corporation. All (100%) of your contributions go to support Refuge programs and projects.

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painttheparks.com

Coast Guard Families Need Your Help 

Amelia Island Lighthouse, Florida

The Coast Guard is responsible for the functioning of the beacon at Amelia Island Lighthouse on Fernandina Beach, Florida.

Looking for practical ways to help those impacted by the government shutdown. Donations are needed by The Coast Guard Mutual Assistance. They assist Coast Guard members and their families with unexpected financial expenses. The Coast Guard is the only branch of the military not being paid during the government shutdown. All donations are appreciated. Check out the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance website for more details.

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

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