Louisiana boasts 14 lighthouses, with the oldest dating back to 1839. Last weekend marked the anniversary in 1789 when the First Congress federalized existing lighthouses. Built by the colonists, funds were appropriated for lighthouses, beacons and buoys. As noted in a previous column, the lighthouse safely directed ships through episodes of fog and storms. Sound was used to guide ships, and in colonial times cannons, fired from shore, warned ships away from foggy coastlines. A fog bell was first used in 1852, a mechanical bell in 1869, a fog trumpet in 1872 and an air siren in 1887. Members of the Lighthouse Service maintained the lights, often performing their duties in extreme hardship. On Aug. 7, 1939, the administration of the lighthouses was transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Fastcast: Stifling.

Isolated showers after 1 p.m. Mostly sunny and hot. High near 95. Heat index values as high as 109. Westerly winds 5 mph to 10 mph. Rain chance: 20 percent. Tonight: Partly cloudy, low about 78.