Click here to close this window
||Fernin F. Eaton
|Cemeteries: Holt, Lafayette No. 1, Lafayette No. 2, Carrollton No. 1, sexton cottages and appertaining buildings
||I could hardly improve on the words already spoken in favor of honoring our ancestors. Ernest Gaines, Alexis de Tocqueville and even our city fathers in 1922 already described why it is important to preserve and protect and cherish these cemeteries, for all races:
"…it is scarcely as if inequality ends where the other world begins. When the Negro is no more, his bones are tossed aside, and the difference in his condition manifests itself even in the equality of death." So wrote Alexis de Tocqueville in Democracy in America, Vol. I, Ch. 10, after visiting New Orleans and the United States in 1831.
DeTocqueville's words were echoed in Administrative Survey of the Government of the City of New Orleans, 1922, p. 228-229:
"There are five public cemeteries under the jurisdiction of the commissioner of public buildings. Four of these are restricted to the use of whites; the fifth, Holt Cemetery, is used in part as a potters' field, and in part as a burial ground for the colored race."
The report candidly says "The condition of the public cemeteries used by the whites is in general satisfactory." But as to Holt, even in 1922 it was described as "absolutely inadequate…with an absolute lack of essential maintenance…which constitute a scathing arraignment of the indifference displayed by past administrations of the city government in the operation of this cemetery." The report said the "administration of public cemeteries is fundamentally unsound" and went on to describe how "the practice …has necessitated disinterring and cremating bodies to provide space for new burials." [echoes of de Tocqueville]
Consider what Ernest Gaines' character, Johnny Paul, said, in "A Gathering of Old Men": "I did it 'cause that tractor is getting closer and closer to that graveyard, and I was scared if I didn't do it one day that tractor was go'n come in there and plow up them graves, getting rid of all proof that we ever was."
Please protect all cemeteries and appertaining buildings.