Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Twin Cities Memorial Gardens

Ink dry on purchase of troubled cemetery
from URL: http://www.thenewsstar.com/article/20081209/NEWS01/81209030

Staff report

The purchase of Twin Cities Memorial Gardens in West Monroe has been
completed, and in the near future its name will be changed to Kilpatrick's
Serenity Gardens.

Laura Kilpatrick Marchelos, Kilpatrick Funeral Homes president, said
Monday the company has already met with architects and contractors to give "this
half-century old property a new and exciting face-lift which we will be
unveiling over the next 60 to 90 days."

The cemetery was placed in receivership by the state earlier this year
because of poor management by former owner Dannie Jackson. Mulhearn Funeral
Homes had been running the facility since the state's takeover. Mulhearn has its
own cemetery, Mulhearn Memorial Park Cemetery, east of Monroe.

The state Attorney General's Office, which represents the Louisiana
Cemetery Board, placed Twin Cities into receivership in January while
investigating complaints over the past several years about poor management and
perpetual care and merchandise trusts not being properly funded.

Following a state investigation, Jackson was indicted on 16 counts of
improper contract for taking money for headstones that he never installed. In
February, he pleaded no contest to one count of improper contract for failing to
put the money in a trust account as required by law.

Jackson has agreed to ensure that all trust funds be fully funded and
to provide a reserve account so Kilpatrick Funeral Homes can fund contracts of
families that have not been fulfilled.

Kilpatrick Funeral Homes operates businesses in Monroe, West Monroe,
Ruston and Farmerville.
"This has been a dream of ours to add a cemetery to
our existing business and to be able to do it where it will benefit the
community of West Monroe and Ouachita Parish. It is a perfect fit," Kilpatrick

Following a state attorney general investigation and an audit by Lucy
McCann of the Louisiana Cemetery Board and the Kilpatrick staff, Kilpatrick
Funeral Homes founder Tex Kilpatrick said "that everything is in order at this

He said those with questions should contact Kilpatrick's at 323-9614.
He said all records should be ready for review "within the next few

Marchelos said people driving by the cemetery will begin to notice
immediate enhancements such as a general cleanup, a new permanent office, new
signage, updated fencing, lighting and road improvements. "Further improvements
will become evident as we get closer to spring of 2009," she said.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Rural cemetery in West Baton Rouge Parish on River Road

November 25th and 26th Paul Gates of WAFB wrote a story about a small rural cemetery in West Baton Rouge Parish that likely suffered damage from Hurricane Gustav. It was found by a couple traveling in the area who emailed Mr. Gates about the damaged cemetery near Beuche, Louisiana on River Road. The Assistant Attorney General, Ryan Seideman, the Louisiana Cemetery Board, and both the West Baton Rouge cornoners office and Parish President were on hand to see that the cemetery was cleaned up. You can read more about both articles from Paul Gates here: Family shocked by cemetery destruction and Repair process begins at cemetery with damaged caskets and vaults. It is believed that the destruction found was likely caused by Hurricane Gustav and the owner may be able to get assistance from FEMA. They are still looking for the owner of this cemetery on River Road.

There are very few named cemeteries in West Baton Rouge Parish and even fewer with transcripts available on-line. In fact, Martin Gautier's Louisiana Cemeteries lists several "unknown" cemeteries that have no transcripts, photographs or recognition by USGS. I noted 10 unknown cemeteries at his site where has has listed the GPS of the cemetery. USGS lists cemeteries differently from church cemeteries. Only 10 cemeteries are noted by USGS. USGS lists several churches that may be associated with older cemeteries. Find A Grave notes 39 cemeteries totally in West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana where a few more are associated with churches.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Not a cemetery, not a graveyard, and certainly not!

There are two cemeteries that I would like to introduce to you. The first being St. Mary's cemetery in Bayou Goula, Iberville Parish, Louisiana, which was discovered as abandoned and vandalized in 2000. I'm calling St. Mary's cemetery - not a cemetery anymore as it was relocated. Christian Williamson wrote about this cemetery back in 2005, Sacred Trust: The Voluntary Removal and Reburial of Human Remains from a Historic Cemetery in Louisiana. This thesis paper is available for everyone to read and enjoy on the internet. Christian wrote, "This thesis presents the project in its entirety with the hope that it will provide a helpful blueprint for both anthropologists and family members who might find themselves involved in the rescue of ancestral remains from historic cemeteries." St. Mary's was founded in 1868 by John Hampden Randolph. The thesis describes the actions taken to rebury those interred at St. Mary's to Nottaway Plantation, the Randolph family historical home. This cemetery was both abandoned and quite isolated. The 31MB PDF file also contains photographs, epitaphs, and archeo. evidence. I found it a facinating read full of information.

The second cemetery that comes to mind as a subject of a thesis paper (or several thesis papers) is Breda Town Cemetery, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. I'd refer to this one as not a graveyard. Recently, a newspaper article was written stating that the Breda Town Cemetery Association had teamed up with University students from Northwestern in order to both conduct a cemetery survey and provide the students with an area of practice and study in the Masters of Arts Program. It is located in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana and is listed on the Natchitoches Parish LAGenWeb parish page as being an African American cemetery without a transcription available. Breda Town began as the plantation home of Jean Philippe Breda and his wife, Marie Dranguet, in 1840. After the plantation dissolved, former slaves made their homes in Breda Town, which is now within the city limits of Natchitoches. I hope to read more in the future of Breda Town Cemetery as the survey is completed, mapped and studied.

Williamson noted differences between "cemeteries" and "graveyards" and cited several helpful sources. He stated, "Before examining the archaeological information available within an historic cemetery, we should discuss what the term cemetery means. Strangstad (Strangstad, Lynette, c. 1988, A Graveyard Preservation Primer. American Association for State and Local History, Nashville, Tennessee) provides a traditional definition for cemetery as “a place set apart for burying the dead.” Strangstad uses the term graveyard to distinguish early historic burial grounds dating from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century from modern cemeteries. The modern use of the term cemetery comes from the Latin word coemeteirum, and the Greek translation meaning “dormitory” or “sleeping place.” (Morris, Richard , c. 1983, The Church in British Archaeology. Research Report 47, The Council for British Archaeology, London, England Morris). And so I will make a note of the differences for future reference.

Should I be blogging only seventeenth to nineteenth century graveyards in Louisiana, since this is a "graveyard" blog? Certainly, not!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Isolated and abandoned family cemeteries quite common in Louisiana

Unfortunately, there are many isolated and abandoned cemeteries in Louisiana. The cold stones sit and wait for no one as time passes. Local history, banal, disorganized and unkept is shoved aside by current affairs. You drive by an abandoned cemetery or graveyard everyday. Hunters stumble upon old tombs in the thick on their way to claiming that prized buck. Tractors till the earth in heaps and mounds and suddenly, the silent speak.

From The Advertiser November 2, 2008
Expert lays down the law on home archaeology, by Judy Bastien • jbastien@theadvertiser.com

["Ryan Seideman, a lawyer and archaeologist, is the person in Louisiana whose job it is to determine if private citizens have a right to any artifacts in their possession. Seideman is also the section chief of the state's Lands and Natural Resources section for the Louisiana Department of Justice.

Some of the laws are clear-cut - like the one governing human remains. Finding human remains is a more common occurrence than you might think. It happens often enough that Seideman recently gave a talk at UL titled A Nonlegal Guide to Louisiana Archaeology Laws or What Not to Do If You Find a Skull in the Attic.

"It's very common," Seideman said. "You find, all over the state, isolated and abandoned family cemeteries."]

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ft. Polk and its treasured heritage

Over the course of the past year 70 gravesites have been located with ground penetrating radar at Ft. Polk along with 27 cemeteries and home sites. You should read more about how this came about from The Leesville Daily Leader. The newspaper described the second annual Heritage Day celebration at Ft. Polk, Louisiana that took place on November 1, 2008. Can you imagine over 70 unmarked graves? The founding members of Heritage Day at Ft. Polk, Louisiana are hoping to provide monuments for the unmarked graves discovered by GPR. Additional information concerning this event can be read here URL.(November 7, 2008, Heritage Days helps families heal old hurts, by ZACH MORGAN on The Guardian.)

What is ground penetrating radar or GPR? According to the Saving Graves website, "Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) data is generated by the reflection of pulses of energy transmitted into the ground. The energy bounces off the buried features, and is detected with a receiving antenna. Each below-ground feature reflects this energy in its own unique way. Objects, and soils of different densities will generate detectable signals. By providing the user with the ability to “see” below the surface without disturbing anything, GPR is the ideal tool for locating sensitive features such as graves."

You may read about last years Heritage Day celebration on the Louisiana Genealogy Blog. More information about these Heritage Families can be found in this post, in addition to more links to stories, who to contact via email, phone numbers and organization contacts.

The Vernon Parish Library has a CD-ROM available with photographs of Vernon Parish cemeteries, according to their online catalog:

Vernon Parish Cemeteries [computer file] / Lewis Westfall.
Author: Westfall, Lewis.
Imprint:Leesville, La. : Westfall, 2005?
Physical Description:2 CD-ROMs, 4 3/4 in ; 4 3/4 in.Note:Photos of grave markers in Vernon Parish Cemeteries.
Content:Disc 1: A-L; Disc. 2: M-W.
Shelf Location
Call Number
Item Status
Main Branch
CD-ROM G La 976.361 Wes
Main Branch
CD-ROM G La 976.361 Wes v.2
Main Branch
CD-ROM G La 976.361 Wes v.1

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Louisiana Gravestone Photo Project

I would like to introduce you to The Louisiana Gravestone Photo Project: "The mission of this project is to capture digital images of gravestones of our ancestors. As decades pass -- many stones are becoming harder, if not impossible, to read the inscriptions they originally contained. By archiving the images, we can help save these important records and also assist researchers using this valuable resource."

You may submit your photo, browse for photos by parish, volunteer, or even search for your surname. Currently, they are looking for part-time volunteers to assist in uploading photographs. You may contact them to volunteer from the website URL above.

Here is a copy of the Louisiana Gravestone Photo Projects'

Terms of Use
By uploading digital images and data to this site you are granting the Louisiana Gravestone Photo Project the right to use all materials provided. We reserve the right to crop, enhance and resize images to meet the needs of the project. All data and image submissions will become a permanent part of the Louisiana Gravestone Photo Project. The submitter has given permission to the Louisiana Gravestone Photo Project to store the file(s) permanently for free access.


Photographers retain full copyright and ownership rights of their original
image. The Louisiana Gravestone Photo Project only claims ownership of the
copy that has been uploaded.


Direct linking to the graphics on this web site is prohibited. This is considered "Hot Linking" and in effect you are stealing bandwidth from this web site. Images used on your site must be saved to your computer or server and not referenced in your html code to the images located on our server. Making IMG calls to images located on
WWW.LAGENWEB.NET from your html documents is considered bandwidth theft.


Persons or organizations desiring to use the photos contained on this site must obtain the written consent of the contributor, or the legal representative of the submitter, and contact the site manager with proof of this consent.

The Association of Grave Yard Rabbits

Welcome to the Louisiana Grave Yard Rabbit Blog. The purpose of this blog is to:

Promote the historical importance of Louisiana cemeteries and the family history to be learned from a study of burial customs, burying grounds, and cemeteries. I pledge to promote the study of Louisiana cemeteries, promote the preservation of these cemeteries, and promote the transcription, documentation and photographs of genealogical/historical information written or requested about these cemeteries.

This blog is part of a genealogy blog network called the Association of Graveyard Rabbits - formed by Terry Thornton. Please read Terry's web site for more information about the Association and the list of participating blogs.
Amazon books about - Louisiana Cemeteries


About Me

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