The lighthouse building on Camp Street looks empty. What is the story behind this unique building?
Interested in NOLA
The Lighthouse for the Blind had its inception in 1911, after an accident caused Tom Slough to lose his sight. Slough opened classes for the blind at Kingsley House. Four years later, Slough and his associates formed the Louisiana Commission for the Blind, which started meeting at 1336 Camp St. The commission aimed to provide employment for the blind.
In 1919, the group moved into offices in the City Hall annex building, which it called the Workshop for the Blind. The Louisiana Commission for the Blind was chartered the next year. In 1922, some operations moved from the annex to Calliope Street.
In 1924, the Louisiana Commission for the Blind purchased and moved into its own building at 734 Camp St. The building was renovated, and a lighthouse was added, modeled after the Milneburg Lighthouse at the lakefront. In 1930, the commission's charter was amended, and its name was changed to The Lighthouse for the Blind of New Orleans.
The organization moved several more times before it settled into its current location at 123 State St., but it left the lighthouse on Camp Street standing to remind us of the 100 years The Lighthouse for the Blind has played a role in improving the lives of people with impaired vision and their families.
The lighthouse was added to this commercial property on Camp Street in 1924, when the Louisiana Commission for the Blind — later called The Lighthouse for the Blind — bought and occupied the building.