State will help save lighthouse

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 4, 1999

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / August 4, 1999

MANCHAC – The drive to rescue the Manchac lighthouse from the ravages of Lake Pontchartrain tidal action took a giant leap forward with $230,000 in the 1999 Capital Outlay Budget approved by the Legislature and Gov. Foster.”It was a remarkable stroke of luck,” Ben Taylor, chairman of the Manchac Lighthouse Committee, observed.

Sen. John Hainkel and Rep. “Tank” Powell pushed the item in the pastsession. The funds are to be used to shore up the undermined foundation ofthe century-plus-old structure, located at Pass Manchac and Lake Pontchartrain.

Not long before this step, former U.S. Rep. Bob Livingston successfullyengineered the transfer of the lighthouse ownership from the U.S. CoastGuard to the State of Louisiana, under the administration of the State Land Office.

Taylor cautioned he’s been warned that the transfer of ownership could be time-consuming, as much as two years, and he’s concerned about the potential damage the lighthouse may sustain until the paperwork can be completed and work begun. However, he continued, it could come as soonas October.

“It’s not over, by any means,” Taylor added.

The state office is now working to finalize the transfer, including all the relevant environmental studies, finalizing the engineering and planning to advertise for contractors.

Another $17,000 already raised by the committee through public donations to help rescue the lighthouse is earmarked to be spent on brickwork, lighting, painting, glasswork and a new light.

Taylor noted that the fact the committee had that $17,000 was evidence of support from the public and encouraged their decision.

The Manchac lighthouse is one of five remaining around Lake Pontchartrain, the others located in The Rigolets, at the New Orleans Lakefront at the old Pontchartrain Beach site and at the West End and at the mouth of the Tchefuncte River.

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