I strolled around Metairie yesterday, and there are quite a lot of cemeteries to choose from in the area. 8 Separate cemeteries take up quite a bit of space where Canal St and City Park Ave meet. Lakelawn cemetery seems to be the largest, across the the interstate from Greenwood cemetery. The grounds of Lakelawn cemetery take up an area much bigger than the surrounding residential areas. There is a three quarters quadrant around the Ponchartrain Expressway that is filled with cities of the dead; the fourth quadrant is the New Orleans Country Club – which is still smaller than Lakelawn cemetery.
It’s a veritable mecca of ancestor remembrance, and quite visually stunning.
Odd Fellows was closed, and the gates on City Park Ave for Greenwood were locked as well, so I spent most of my time in St. Patrick cemetery No 1.
There’s something romantic about the cemeteries down south – bleached white houses for the dead that stand out in stark relief against the city around them. Even in the more rural regions, you’ll see the same small collection of white and brick buildings that are the only remaining remembrances of those beloved who have now crossed the river to the other side.
I walked through St. Patrick cemetery No 1., checking out the dates of people who had passed, feeling a little sad whenever I came across a crypt that was in disrepair, or without a headstone. It made me wonder if those surviving either didn’t remember that person anymore, or if they didn’t have any family left to come tend the house of their ancestor.
Several cairns were open and exposed to the elements, the bricks in their faces slowly falling away or eroding with age and weather.
Of particular note was a shattered headstone at the foot of one of the concrete houses. It lay in jagged pieces, now a puzzle of remembrance to try to put back together.
After my walk through St. Patrick cemetery No 1., I went back to Matilda and did a quick spiritual cleaning before hopping back in and heading back out onto the highway.
Maferefun Egun. Modupue.