Residents celebrate lighting of New Canal Lighthouse

There was a big celebration on the New Orleans lakefront Wednesday night for the lighting of the New Canal Lighthouse.

The lighthouse takes resident Geri Landry back to her childhood. She recalls going there years ago with her father.  "Every afternoon after school I would have to come crack clams with a hammer for him so he could bait the area to catch shrimp," said Landry.

For some, it was a night for sharing those fond memories. For others it was cause for a party with lots of music and dancing all to celebrate this salute to history.

Even though the lighthouse is new, it brings with it pieces of the past, including remnants of the third lighthouse, which was built in 1890 and destroyed in 2005.

Joann Burke is the Foundation's education coordinator. "The Lake Ponchartrain Basin Foundation dismantled the building and stored the pieces in a warehouse with plans to bring back as much of the historic fiber as we could," said Burke.

She says boards from the old lighthouse will be used to make floors for the new lighthouse, and that's not all.  "The shutters of the first floor are from the original building and we even used the original hardware as much as we can," said Burke.

It's a process of rebuilding while preserving the past. It's something many have had to do since Katrina.

"Every individual in New Orleans has a Katrina story and just to be able to have this lighthouse come back let's people feel, once again, we can overcome what we went through and we can move forward," said Burke.

Saints and FOX 8 owner Tom Benson had the honor of flipping the switch.  "This has meant so much to our city," said Benson. "It's like our city. It's been here forever. That's why we wanted to light it up again."

"I think it means that the city is really progressing and that we are going back to our roots and I just think its wonderful," said Landry.