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Tchefuncte River Lighthouse

Tchefuncte River Lighthouse after exterior restoration.

Originally founded and built in 1837, the Tchefuncte River Light Station is a symbol of the dynamic maritime history and culture of Louisiana. The original tower was badly damaged during the Civil War and was rebuilt in 1867-1868 on the same foundation using many of the same bricks. The Light Station, its keepers, and their families weathered many hurricanes until 1939 when it was automated by the U.S. Coast Guard. In 1999 the property was transferred to the Town of Madisonville and continues to serve the community as a private aid to navigation and as an icon of Southeast Louisiana. The lighthouse was featured in the 2008 movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and is the subject of many lighthouse books and articles.

Today the lighthouse is managed by the Maritime Museum for restoration as an education center in partnership with Southeastern Louisiana University. Exterior restorations have been completed on the Tchefuncte River Lighthouse and the Keeper’s Cottage, located on the grounds of the Maritime Museum. Stabilization and restoration of the lighthouse began in 2007 funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Southeastern Museum Conference, a gift from the Southeastern Louisiana University Development Fund, and contributions from private groups and individuals.

Donations to support restoration of the Tchefuncte River Light Station may be made through the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum and the Southeastern Louisiana University Foundation. For information call (985)845-9200 or email

Viewing the Lighthouse

The lighthouse and grounds are closed for safety during restoration and due to recent vandalism the “no access policy” is strictly enforced by the Madisonville Police and the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Department. The lighthouse may be easily viewed by boat from the Tchefuncte River entrance channel or from shore at the southern end of Highway 1077. Those entering the property are subject to arrest and prosecution for trespassing.

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