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KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – JELD-WEN was on-site when the rebuilt New Canal Lighthouse on Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans, Louisiana was re-lit on Sept. 26, 2012, following celebratory events. New Orleans Saints Owner Tom Benson had the official duty of switching on the light at approximately 7:15 p.m.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita crushed the historic structure in 2005, leaving many to wonder if New Canal Lighthouse was doomed to be one of New Orleans’ lost icons. Fortunately, thanks to a tremendous outpouring of community support including new windows and doors from JELD-WEN, the re-building effort has so far been a success.
Wednesday’s celebration honored the history of the lighthouse and region, and looked to the future of the restored building’s design and function. The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation (LPBF) Executive Director John Lopez spoke briefly about the historical significance of the light at the entrance to the New Basin Canal, followed by remarks by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and U. S. Senator David Vitter.
Importance of windows
Windows and doors are important both visually and structurally. In keeping with the historic aesthetic, the 16 Custom Wood Windows from JELD-WEN were designed to resemble as closely as possible the windows that were in the lighthouse in 1890. This was accomplished by matching size and style all the way down to tiny details such as the narrow muntin bars with a unique profile that looks like the putty-glazed bars of yesteryear.
In addition to visual appeal, there are also crucial improvements in the new window technology that make JELD-WEN products appealing to architects, builders, homeowners and of course, lighthouse keepers. High humidity and warm temperatures make wood rot a major problem in many coastal climates. In fact, rotten timbers were the reason for rebuilding New Canal in 1843. To help prevent future wood rot, the lighthouse features JELD-WEN windows that are made with AuraLast® Wood. This specially treated wood is the result of JELD-WEN’s patented water-based wood preservation process that protects wood to the core and offers a lifetime limited warranty against wood rot and termites.
Glass matters, too. When strong winds enter a structure through a broken window or door, the increased pressure can lift the roof and push walls outward. JELD-WEN’s ImpactGard® protection helps prevent this by resisting impacts from wind-borne debris. The JELD-WEN Custom Wood Windows selected for New Canal Lighthouse feature impact-resistant laminated glass designed to help safeguard against extensive internal damage from severe wind and debris in hurricane-prone areas.
“[We were] pleased to have a donation of high-quality windows,” said Lopez.
Windows weren’t the only JELD-WEN products used; two JELD-WEN Custom Wood Mahogany exterior doors that closely resemble the original doors and come with 45-minute fire ratings were also part of the renovation.
History of the New Canal Lighthouse
Today, the New Canal looks like it did pre-2005, though very noticeably the structure was raised and now stands 19 feet in the air.
New Canal Lighthouse has an interesting and evolving history, dating back to 1839 when Congress first appropriated funds, according to the organization’s website. From what amounted to a light mounted on a pole at entrance to the New Basin Canal, the lighthouse was remodeled into a one-story building in 1855, refurbished again as a two-story structure in 1890, then moved to the lakefront in the early 1900s. The red and white structure of 2012 replicates the one built in 1890 and symbolizes an era of maritime commerce.
After the U.S. Coast Guard moved to a larger facility in 2002, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation began to take care of the prominent landmark. The light itself, now secure in its restored home, is approved by the Coast Guard as a private aid to navigation.
The LPBF has been working steadily on the restoration since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita wreaked havoc in 2005. Donations from individuals and companies such as JELD-WEN have all helped to restore the lighthouse that will begin a new life as a museum depicting the Lake Pontchartrain ecology and the devastation caused by Katrina.
New Canal Lighthouse, winner of the JELD-WEN Reliable Lighthouse Restoration Initiative in 2008, was selected from a pool of 12 worthy finalists and half a million votes.
“When JELD-WEN put our name out there it definitely brought attention to the project,” said JoAnn Burke, education director for LPBF.
The LPBF continues to raise funds in order to complete museum and environmental education center which the organization plans to open in 2013.
JELD-WEN is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of reliable windows and doors. JELD-WEN began in 1960 and today has approximately 20,000 employees across more than 100 locations in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia. The company’s extensive product offering encompasses windows, exterior doors, interior doors and related building products that are sold globally through multiple distribution channels, including retail home centers, wholesale distributors and building products dealers. JELD-WEN has been an ENERGY STAR Partner since 1998.