It was 1995 when we photographed Franks Island.
As with several other
hard to reach Louisiana lighthouses, we got this photo from a
seaplane out of Houma. We had no idea, what this lighthouse
originally looked like until we got home and researched it.
The original plan was for a very fanciful structure to be
built. Winslow Lewis agreed to build it, but he felt it would
fail, as it would be too heavy for the mudbank it was to be built
on. He got the gov't to agree to pay him even if it failed, if
he followed the exact plans. He even had a government
inspector to make sure the plans were followed. Sure enough,
the structure cracked and much of it toppled, 8 days before
completion. As per the agreement, Lewis was paid, and later on
contracted to build a much simpler structure on that site.
When it was finished it stood 82 ft. high, at least 20 feet higher
than it appears today, due to the changing of the waters and the
sinking of Franks Island. This lighthouse served from 1823 to
1856 until the Pass a'Loutre Lighthouse was built. I have not
been able to find out about a keeper's house, or if the keeper was
based elsewhere. This year, 2002, I have been informed by several
different sources, including a helicopter pilot that flies over the
area often, that the lighthouse no longer exists. This pilot
told me that when the tide is low, he can see a pile of debris in
the water, all that remains of the Franks Island Lighthouse.