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Louisiana lighthouse destroyed by Hurricane Katrina touches the public's heart, earns top spot in JELD-WEN Windows & Doors' restoration initiative
Historic Preservation Blog from PreservationDirectory.com - JELD-WEN, New Canal Lighthouse, Louisiana, Reliable Lighthouse Restoration Initiative, Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, restoration
Contributed By: JELD-WEN Reliable Lighthouse Restoration Initiative
Email The Author: jeld-wen@cmdagency.com
Website: http://www.jeld-wen.com/lighthouse

With a story of devastating destruction followed by unwavering hope and hard work, New Canal Lighthouse in Louisiana captures the spirit of New Orleans' rebuilding efforts and has earned the top spot in this year's JELD-WEN Reliable Lighthouse Restoration Initiative (http://www.jeld-wen.com/lighthouse).

Guided by nearly half a million votes cast for 12 deserving national lighthouse finalists, JELD-WEN determined that New Canal Lighthouse had the most compelling need for restoration. The lighthouse, located on Lake Pontchartrain off the Gulf Coast, stood since 1890 before being demolished by the force of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Now three years later, like much of the New Orleans community, the lighthouse is rebuilding. While many lighthouses are recognized as beacons of safety, the effort to bring New Canal Lighthouse back from destruction also serves as a beacon of hope to a region and a nation still recovering from the devastation of Katrina.

"New Canal has an overwhelming need for restoration," said Lynne Butterworth, JELD-WEN lighthouse project manager. "We're proud to help spearhead the restoration of such a historic and beloved landmark. We hope that new JELD-WEN windows and doors will help raise greater awareness and support for New Canal Lighthouse, and inspire an entire Gulf Coast region that is working so hard to rebuild after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike."

As the winner of this year's JELD-WEN Reliable Lighthouse Restoration Initiative, New Canal will receive 16 new windows and two exterior doors, designed to match the 1890 originals as closely as possible in appearance, while offering the ultimate protection from severe weather. The new JELD-WEN® fiberglass doors and windows made with AuraLast® wood and impact-resistant glass will help the lighthouse withstand extreme conditions. AuraLast is the company's exclusive water-based preservation process that protects to the core against wood decay, water saturation and termites. Reconstruction of the lighthouse is expected in 2009. Video footage of the lighthouse is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iMENgXnAYU.

"The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and the entire New Orleans region are so grateful to JELD-WEN for their most generous donation of windows and doors for the New Canal Lighthouse," said Anne Rheams, deputy director and New Canal Lighthouse keeper. "This gift will help reconstruct a historic icon for the citizens of New Orleans and provide hope to an area still recovering from Hurricane Katrina."

Rebuilding of a historic landmark

Originally built in 1838, New Canal Lighthouse symbolizes an era of maritime commerce along Lake Pontchartrain, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico. After the U.S. Coast Guard moved its operations in 1999, a local environmental nonprofit, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, began to take care of the prominent landmark. (See complete New Canal history in fact sheet below.)

New Canal was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina, and in the aftermath deteriorated beyond repair. The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation was able to salvage material from the original structure to use for its reconstruction efforts. The lighthouse will be restored in 2009 with the goal of bringing back its original glory as a working aid to navigation, historic museum and environmental education center. The Foundation has raised a third of the $600,000 needed to launch reconstruction.

Advocating for lighthouse restoration

The JELD-WEN Reliable Lighthouse Restoration Initiative (http://www.jeld-wen.com/lighthouse) began in 2005 to preserve these beloved U.S. landmarks with the latest window and door technology and help restore the original historic architecture. Considered "America's castles," lighthouses face some of the most severe climate conditions in the world and many are threatened by age and lack of resources for restoration. New Canal will follow in the footsteps of three impressive lighthouses that JELD-WEN has helped restore: Umpqua River Lighthouse in Oregon, Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse in Maryland and Wind Point Lighthouse in Wisconsin. Follow the progress at www.jeld-wen.com/lighthouse, Flickr and YouTube. More information can also be found in the JELD-WEN Newsroom at http://www.jeld-wen.com/pressroom/index.cfm.

Other finalists this year (in alphabetical order) were Baltimore Harbor Lighthouse in Maryland, Bodie Island Light Station in North Carolina, Cedar Island Lighthouse in New York, Grand Traverse Lighthouse in Michigan, Grays Harbor Light Station in Washington, New Dungeness Light Station in Washington, Pemaquid Point Lighthouse in Maine, Plum Island Station in Wisconsin, Point Arena Light Station in California, Rose Island Lighthouse in Rhode Island and Toledo Harbor Lighthouse in Ohio.

Butterworth encourages those passionate about helping save the nation's treasured lighthouses to volunteer, support and continue to advocate for them. More information is available through many local lighthouse organizations, as well as the national U.S. Lighthouse Society and American Lighthouse Foundation.

JELD-WEN Reliable Lighthouse Restoration Initiative Fact Sheet 2008-2009 Project: New Canal Lighthouse, New Orleans, Louisiana

Brief History: Originally built in 1838, New Canal Lighthouse was established to support maritime commerce along Lake Pontchartrain, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico. It marks the entrance to the New Basin Canal between the lake and the port of New Orleans on the Mississippi River and was replaced with a taller lighthouse in 1890. Hurricanes in 1915 and 1926 severely damaged the station and it was raised onto concrete piers. However, the lighthouse was severely damaged by the force of Hurricane Katrina and deteriorated beyond repair in the aftermath of the storm.

The Need: According to American Lighthouses, published in 2008 New Canal is widely considered the nation's most endangered lighthouse. The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, owners and operators of the lighthouse, are planning to rebuild the structure using material salvaged from the original lighthouse. To date, the Foundation has raised a third of the $600,000 needed to begin rebuilding the lighthouse.

Timing: Reconstruction efforts for the lighthouse are scheduled to begin in Spring 2009.

Products: To restore the lighthouse's architectural integrity and preserve it for years to come, New Canal will receive new JELD-WEN fiberglass doors and windows made with AuraLast wood and impact-resistant glass, to help the lighthouse withstand extreme conditions. The 16 new windows and two exterior doors will match the 1890 originals as closely as possible in appearance, while offering the ultimate protection from severe weather.

The new JELD-WEN pine wood windows will be made with AuraLast®, a revolutionary wood process developed by JELD-WEN that offers a 20-year warranty against wood decay, water saturation and termites. The windows will also feature impact-resistant, laminated glass designed to resist shattering by windborne debris in hurricane-prone areas. The new JELD-WEN® Custom Fiberglass exterior doors will be visually indistinguishable from wood, yet require very little maintenance and, most importantly, won't expand, swell or absorb moisture. These doors are also engineered to withstand the harshest climates, including coastal conditions.

Lighthouse Facts:

  • Francis D. Gott built the first New Canal Lighthouse in 1838 at the entrance of the New Basin Canal on Lake Pontchartrain.
  • The original architectural structure was white with a red roof, featuring a tower made of Cypress wood with a lantern on top.
  • Until its dismantling in early 2008, New Canal was one of only four wooden lighthouses in the Gulf Coast region, and was one of the last lighthouses in active use with a light tower atop the keeper's dwelling.
  • The original light had a Fifth Order Fresnel lens that has an occulting, or flashing white light and a mechanical fog bell that sounded once every 10 seconds when needed.
  • Keepers and their families operated the lighthouse until the 1950s when the U.S. Coast Guard took over the aid to navigation and operated multiple missions from there until it moved operations in 1999. A local environmental nonprofit, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, then took over ownership.
  • Some of the most notable keepers included several women, many of whom inherited the position because their husbands, the original keepers, died while on-duty at the lighthouse.
  • During the Civil War in 1863, the light was extinguished for a few months by order of General Sherman, after union forces took command of New Orleans.
  • In 1985, New Canal Lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • For more information about New Canal Lighthouse, visit www.saveourlake.org

About JELD-WEN:
JELD-WEN, inc. is the world's leading manufacturer of reliable windows and doors. Based in Klamath Falls, Ore., JELD-WEN began as a small Oregon millwork plant with 15 employees in 1960 and has grown to more than 20,000 employees in nearly 150 locations worldwide. Today the company manufactures a full breadth of windows, doors and garage doors, and has earned numerous awards and endorsements for reliability, innovation and excellence. For more information about the exceptional value and reliability of JELD-WEN® products, or to find a dealer near you, please visit www.jeld-wen.com or call 800-877-9482, ext. PR036.


Keywords: JELD-WEN, New Canal Lighthouse, Louisiana, Reliable Lighthouse Restoration Initiative, Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, restoration

Posted: October 29, 2008
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