I absolutely love cemeteries. Cemeteries do not seem morbid to me at all – I find them very peaceful, beautiful places to be. The mausoleums, headstones, and family plots are fascinating reminders of past people. I like to find the oldest graves in a cemetery, just to see how early people were born and then died. In that respect, I am very lucky to live in Louisiana. Most cemeteries I have been to have graves pre-dating the Civil War.
I found two cemeteries in Baton Rouge, both off North Street, where the headstones name the deceased’s place of birth and the year they moved to Louisiana. I thought it was interesting that most of these people originated from Germany, Prussia, and Eastern European countries.
One thing I always look out for in cemeteries now are the Woodsmen of the World Memorials. I have found tons of them all over the Baton Rouge and New Orleans area, including in Old Metairie Cemetery (a wealthy cemetery – I did not expect to find any memorials there, but I’ve found two so far). Woodsmen of the World was a fraternal benefit society that originated in Atlanta. The society provided death and monument benefits to its members, sometimes even providing headstones free of charge because they would not let a member’s grave go unmarked. There is more information at this link: http://southerngraves.i-found-it.net/woodmenoftheworld.html. I have taken a photo of every Woodsmen of the World Memorial I have ever seen so I can, one day, document all of these online (although I’m sure most, if not all, are already documented).
I also find it fun to try to find information about certain graves, such as one I found in New Orleans where three of the people in the tomb had died on the same day, but a year or two apart. I can’t always find any information, but sometimes I can find census information that tells me where the person originated.
What has me reminiscing about Louisiana cemeteries? This article http://photoblog.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/03/16322930-louisiana-cemeteries-sinking-washing-away-due-to-coastal-erosion?lite%3Focid=twitter I found on cemeteries in Leeville (note, Leeville and not Leesville) and Golden Meadow, deep south, much further south than I’ve ever been. It’s really sad to read that these cemeteries are washing away and nothing is being done to stop it, or to restore the graves.
Sadly, I know that probably nothing will be done to save the cemetery – just like nothing was done to save Mount Zion in Chackbay and countless other “historical” sites in Louisiana. At least this one is getting a bit of national news.