‘Shine On’: New license plate raising money to restore Tchefuncte lighthouse

MADISONVILLE, La. (WGNO) - How much do you love the iconic lighthouse on the Tchefuncte River?

There's a new license plate you can buy that will help raise money to restore the Madisonville historic treasure.

The new license plate can be ordered through the Office of Motor Vehicles. Money raised from the sale of the license plates will be spent on protecting the lighthouse property and its surrounding coastline, rebuilding of the pier and breakwater and other storm surge protection measures, according to the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum.

"The lighthouse has been deteriorating for some time," said St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister. "This is a way for us to recognize the significance of the lighthouse and what it means to Madisonville here, and the heritage that’s shown in Madisonville. This will give us funds to restore that lighthouse and put it back into working condition. It’s a great license plate. It says, 'Shine on,' and that’s exactly what we want to do, shine a light on Madisonville and its heritage."

The museum's website says the lighthouse was built in 1837. The original tower was damaged during the Civil War and rebuilt in 1867.

In 1939, the light station was automated by the U.S. Coast Guard, and in 1999, the town of Madisonville took over ownership of the landmark.

It was even featured in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."

Because of its fragile condition and recent vandalism on the property, the lighthouse and the land surrounding it is closed to the public. You can get a great view of the landmark from a boat on the Tchefuncte River.