Pauper Cemetery in New Orleans

Pauper Cemetery in New Orleans

I had a guest today from Moscow and took him to visit Holt Cemetery, a pauper cemetery in New Orleans.  Holt is the pauper cemetery for the city, serving as the final resting place for the poorest of families in the city.  It is one of the most interesting cemeteries in all of the city as many of the graves are make-shift with unusual personal touches added to graves of loved ones.  Corpses compete for space in the overcrowded burial grounds and remains are routinely dug out, and replanted deeper to make room for newer coffins to come in above remains of the old ones.  This process was explained to me by Mr. Warren, the supervisor for the cemetery.

Regular visitors will sooner or later catch a glimpse of this procedure in action as I did today.  Shirtless elderly men of African descent dig all of the graves by hand, filtering out old pieces of bones & coffins.  When the bottom is reached they continue to dig a little bit deeper, replace the remnants, and make room for the next generation to be laid to rest.  Thus there are multiple generational layers throughout the cemetery.

Holt Cemetery is located at 635 City Park Avenue in New Orleans.

NOTE: The final row of photos is actually from nearby Metairie, by a gross contrast it is the final resting place of the wealthiest residents.

About The Author

Model, photographer, traveler, and writer. I was born and raise in the south and maintain as much southern charm as possible while counteracting the stereotypical racist bible thumping attitude expected by so many.

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