Chandeleur Island Light

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Chandeleur Island Light
Chandeleur Island Light 02.jpg
c. 1986
Chandeleur Island Light is located in Louisiana
Chandeleur Island Light
Location Chandeleur Islands, Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana
Coordinates 30°2′50″N 88°52′41″W / 30.04722°N 88.87806°W / 30.04722; -88.87806Coordinates: 30°2′50″N 88°52′41″W / 30.04722°N 88.87806°W / 30.04722; -88.87806
Year first constructed 1848
Year first lit 1896 (most recent tower)
Automated 1966
Deactivated destroyed by Katrina, 2005
Foundation Pile
Construction Iron
Tower shape Skeletal with cylinder
Markings / pattern Brown with black lantern
Focal height 102 feet (31 m)
Original lens 3rd order Fresnel lens
Characteristic various, most recent: Flashing white
Fog signal none
USCG number


Chandeleur Light
Nearest city New Orleans, Louisiana
Area 0.1 acres (0.040 ha)
Built 1896
Architectural style Lighthouse Tower
NRHP reference # 86001404[2]
Added to NRHP June 25, 1986
Heritage place listed on the National Register of Historic Places Edit this on Wikidata

The Chandeleur Island Light was a lighthouse established in 1848 near the northern end of the Chandeleur Islands in the Gulf of Mexico, off the east coast of Louisiana. Hurricane Katrina destroyed the light in 2005.


The first light was finished in 1848 with nine lamps in 21 inches (530 mm) reflectors about 55 feet (17 m) above the base. The tower and the keeper's house were destroyed by a hurricane in August 1852.[3]

A second, brick, tower was in operation by 1855, with a focal plane of 50 feet (15 m). By 1865 it had a 4th order Fresnel lens. This tower was the only building on the site that survived the hurricane of October 1, 1893, but it was badly damaged and was taken down. Congress appropriated $35,000 for its replacement.[4]

A new, iron skeleton tower with a 3rd order Fresnel lens (focal plane 102 feet (31 m)) was erected in its place in 1895.[5] The light figured in a case before the United States Supreme Court. After a barge carrying fertilizer ran aground, it was determined that the Coast Guard had been negligent in maintaining the proper operation of the light. The Court held that the United States was liable.[6] The light was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986 as Chandeleur Light.

Erosion eventually left the tower standing alone in the water, with the last auxiliary building, a keeper's house, destroyed by Hurricane Camille in 1969. The tower was utterly destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, so that a visit by a research vessel the following spring found no trace of it.[3]


The 1856 brick tower 
The light in 1960. Note how much more land there is than in 1971. 


  1. ^ "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Louisiana". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. 
  2. ^ National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  3. ^ a b "Chandeleur Island, LA". LighthouseFriends. Archived from the original on 2013-08-06. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  4. ^ (28 Stat. 375)
  5. ^ Breton National Wildlife Refuge. Refuge brochure. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. August, 2006, p.4.
  6. ^ Indian Towing Co. v. United States 350 U.S. 61 (1955)