New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Monday, June 17, 2024
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Women Lighthouse Keepers

Ellen Wilson kept the light at Port Pontchartrain Light Station (Milneburg Light), Louisiana, from 1882-1896


Margaret Norvell served at the Head of Passes Light from 1891 to 1896, the Port Pontchartrain Light from 1896 to 1924 as the head keeper and then finished her career at the West End Light where she served from 1924 to 1932. She rescued numerous shipwrecked persons during her career and assisted many others in distress. On one occassion in 1903 when a storm swept away every building in the community except the lighthouse she cared for over 200 people who had been left homeless.


According to Carl Arredondo, in a 1893 Hurricane where 2000 people died in a 15 foot storm surge, 200 survivors sought refuge at the Port Pontchartrain lighthouse, and its female lightkeeper was publicly recognized for caring for them.