The Search Along the Gulf Coast


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The Gulf Coast of Mississippi

Biloxi Lighthouse

A Private Aid West of the Western Entrance to Biloxi Bay, Mississippi Sound
Biloxi, MS
Visited May 16, 2000

The Biloxi Lighthouse stands in the middle of a main highway along the coastline and is an awesome sight in the middle of the main street. Several passes circling the bold structure were made before finally stopping in an adjacent parking lot to take pictures from the Gulf side next to the street.

There were two other buildings that appeared to contain Harbor Lighthouses, both attached to hotel properties on the Eastern side of the Biloxi Lighthouse. During travel immediately following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a manager of one of the hotel and casino properties advised there was nothing left standing except the lighthouse. "Biloxi light is the only thing left", he quickly stated while filing gas in his vehicle East of Vicksburg, to drive to Florida for a business meeting and shelter for his family. Allowing appropriate time to pass, another visit to Biloxi and surrounding areas, will undoubtedly witness the strength of mankind and that of nature.

Louisiana Lighthouses

Tchefuncte River Range Rear Light
(1838; 1867)

The Mouth of the River on the Westside, Northern Side of Lake Ponchartrain
Madisonville, LA
Visited May 17, 2000

If a road led to the lighthouse it was not one to be found, but from a distance along a narrow road, the lighthouse could be seen. Driving further along the same road eventually provided weathered homes sitting next to the Gulf shoreline until it came to a dead end and clearly marked with several "no trespassing" signs at the edge of the water. This was the closest vantage point from the distant lighthouse across the river.

With wind whipping into the opened window of the vehicle, photos of the lighthouse that could not be reached were taken. After the fact, it was learned this was one of the most popular of landmarks in the area, but the Keeper's house had been moved to a location on Main Street and during this time of visit, served as a private home.

New Canal Light House
(1839; 1890)

Five miles North of New Orleans, at the entrance to Lake Pontchartrain Canal
West End Blvd & Lakeshore Drive
New Orleans, LA
Visited May 17, 2000

Placed on the National register of Historic Places in 1985, this was the last light in use that had the light tower on top of the Keeper's house. In 1987, combined efforts were established with the United States Coast Guard at the New Canal site and the lighthouse became home to a 44 person Coast Guard crew that monitored boating activity and provided search and rescue efforts in a large area. At the time of this visit, it was the busiest Coast Guard Station in the world.

The Texas Lighthouses

Lydia Ann (Aransas Pass) Light
(1857; 1952)

Harbor Island, Lydia Ann Channel in Port Aransas, Texas
Visited June 17, 2000

Used by the U.S. Coast Guard for several years, the lighthouse is now privately owned and not accessible. In 1970 the Coast Guard sold the property to a private individual who eventually restored the lighthouse and has kept the replaced beacon working as an official aid to navigation ever since. A low-cost sightseeing tour that passes the lighthouse is available by catamaran from the Port of Aransas, which is reachable by a free ferry from Aransas. Wheelchairs will require some assistance to board. (Power chairs are not recommended.) Photographers should prepare for wind and spray off the ocean.

Half Moon Reef Light

Location: Port Lavaca, Texas
Visited June 18, 2000

This remarkable lighthouse was moved from the middle of Matagorda Bay in 1979 and at the time of this visit, stood as a landmark on Highway 35 in Port Lavaca. History behind this historical landmark includes a number of devastating hurricanes it survived until the tremendous storm in 1942 that put it out of commission. As a crew arrived to load the remaining structure onto a barge, the Coast Guard arrived to let them know the area was scheduled to be used as a bombing range within the next 30 minutes. As it worked out, the Coast Guard waved off the planes and the lighthouse was moved to the Point Comfort dredging yard for a number of years until its resting spot in Port Lavaca. In the year 2000, the facility was not open on Sunday and wheelchair access is not known.

Bolivar Point Light
(1852; 1873)

Bolivar Peninsula, Texas
Visited October 22, 2000

Taking a ferry from the North end of Galveston Island to cross the peninsula led to Bolivar Island and the beloved lighthouse that had saved many lives during severe hurricanes. With rain in the forecast, it was debatable whether the trip would be in vain, but the weather held up long enough to locate and document this historic lighthouse. While parked alongside the road near the front of the building, a side street was spotted a few yards away that later proved to be the same road many photographers used to capture this astonishing lighthouse.

The cast-iron structure was made in sections, raising it 100-feet above sea level and remaining a true rust in color. This lighthouse and their concerned Keepers is known for saving dozens of lives during devastating hurricanes in 1906 and 1915. During the time of this visit, the property was privately owned and the light had been dark since 1933 when it was discontinued by the Coast Guard. Regardless, the landmark remains awesome to all who pass.

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