April 9th Susan Thurston Tea to benefit lighthouse: Madisonville Town Talk

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A new organization is forming within the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum to help with the needs of the historical building that once served as a home for many light-keepers and their families. The Friends of the Light House Keepers Cottage wants to assist the museum with sustaining and restoring the cottage and making it available as a resource for educational tours and community events.

On Thursday (April 9) from 2 until 4:30 p.m. the organization is hosting a Susan Thurston Tea. A traditional three-course tea will include a selection of savories and sweets provided by Abita Roasting and Friends Coastal Restaurant, Morgan Street Bakery, the Lake House, Maison Lafitte and Vianne's Tea House. Guests will be entertained by a musical ensemble featuring vintage classics on harp. Pat Brister, St. Tammany's parish president, will serve as keynote speaker. 

Benjamin Thurston served as the first light-keeper. He and his wife Susan had 12 children. Their youngest five, all daughters, were raised on the grounds of the lighthouse in Madisonville. Thurston kept a daily diary while serving from 1837 until 1845. His diary not only gives a glimpse into the life of the light-keeper and his family, but also into the life and times of Madisonville during the mid-1800s. The original diaries surfaced a year ago and were donated to the museum for a new exhibit for all visitors to enjoy. 

The cost to attend the Susan Thurston Tea is $35 per person, or a table for 8 for $280. Tickets can be purchased by calling 985.845.9200 or going to Lpbmm.org. Funds collected from the tea will be used on the cottage. Some of the work needed is roof replacement, ceiling restoration, bathroom and kitchen reconstruction as well as replacement of some original windows.