New Orleans

A Beautiful Ceremony

–– and an Unfinished Monument

The cemeteries of New Orleans are of exceptional interest, and are visited every year by thousands of people. Owing to the proximity of the water mark to the surface of the ground, the dead are not buried as in other cities, and the vaults are above instead of under ground. They are well arranged, and the antiquity of the burial grounds, and the historic memories connected with the tablets, combine to make them of more than ordinary interest. The local custom of suspending business on the first day of November of each year for the purpose of decorating graves in all the cemeteries, is also worthy of more than a passing notice. Not only do people decorate the last resting places of their friends and relatives on this specially selected day, but even the graves of strangers are cared for in a spirit of thankfulness that the angel of death has not entered the family circle, and made inroads into bonds of friendship.

A few years ago a young woman died on the cars just as they were entering the world-renowned Creole city. There was nothing on the body to aid identification, and a stranger's grave had to be provided. In the meantime the friends and relatives of the missing girl had been making every effort to locate her, no idea having occurred to them that she was going South. A loving brother finally got hold of a clew [sic], which he followed up so successfully that he at last solved the mystery. He arrived in New Orleans on November 1st, and when taken out to the grave that had been provided for the stranger who had died just outside the gates, he was astounded to find several handsome bouquets of flowers, with wreaths and crosses, lying upon it. Such a sight could hardly have been met with in any other city in the world, and too much can hardly be said in praise of the sentiment which suggests and encourages such disinterested kindness and thought.

The cemetery which occupies a site close to the great battle-field, is always specially decorated, and crowds go out in thousands to pay tribute to honored memories. Close to this spot there is a monument to celebrate the great battle during which General Pakingham was shot, and at which General Jackson galloped excitedly up and down the lines, and almost forced the men on to victory. The monument has not received the care which it deserves. More than half a century ago work was commenced on it, and a great deal was accomplished. But after a year or two of effort the project was abandoned for the time, and it has never been renewed. In the long interval that has ensued the roof has, in a large measure, disappeared, as well as several of the steps leading up to the front. Hundreds of people have cut their names in the stone work, and the monument, which ought to be preserved in perpetuity, looks so disreputable that little regret would be caused were the entire fragment to be swept away by some unusually heavy gust of wind.

More than 1,500 soldiers were buried in the Chalmette Cemetery after the battle referred to. Since the war it has been well nigh forgotten, but several duels and affaires d'honneur have been settled on the historic spot.

The United States: its Wonders, its Beauties, and its People; with Descriptive Notes, Character Sketches, Folk Lore, Traditions, Legends and History, for the Amusement of the Old and the Instruction of the Young.

BY JAMES COX, Author of "Our Own Country," "Missouri at the World's Fair," "Old and New St. Louis," "An Arkansas Eden," "Oklahoma Revisited," Etc., 1903
"Breathes there a man with soul so dead
Who never to himself has said,
This is my own,my native land."
Project Gutenberg

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