Founded 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 Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum for restoration as an education center in partnership with Southeastern Louisiana University. Stabilization of the lighthouse began in 2007 and restoration continues today 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. Visit the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum at 133 Mabel Drive, Madisonville, to learn more about the history of the lighthouse, the ecology of the Tchefuncte Marsh, and the history of Lake Pontchartrain.