The Louisiana State Archives will showcase the work of the Bayou Coastal Cemeteries Project with an exhibit running through the end of March. To date, 137 cemeteries have been documented.
The Louisiana State Archives is located at 3851 Essen Lane in Baton Rouge. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For more information about the project, contact Schexnayder at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 225-578-6448.
- Effort aims to map disappearing cemeteries March 5, 2012 - Houma Today, By Nikki Buskey Staff Writer
- Louisiana Sea Grant
Summary from project website Accessed March 31, 2012
Our objective is to survey and record specifics of endangered cemeteries within the Louisiana state-defined coastal zone. Through this survey, we hope to show loss of state's cultural heritage as coastal erosion and sea level rise continue to affect Louisiana's coastline.
We will begin by accessing data/resources already in place to minimize research to be done. This can be accomplished through resources such as USGS data, state topographic maps, Google Earth, etc. Then we will visit cemetery sites to record GIS location, size, population density, proximity to Gulf and historical persons buried within. Cemeteries will be prioritized in terms of most endangered. Our initial survey work will begin in Grand Isle, Louisiana - a threatened coastal site. This visit will be used to determine time required to record site data, and to determine the number of sites to be visited within the funding time limit.
The preliminary reason for the project is to note the heightened need of preservation. By protecting the physical setting, the cultural heritage is protected as well. It is also to show connection of the living to the dead. There is a loss of culture as people are forced to move inland - cemeteries are no longer cared for and left abandoned. The project will foster the idea that although physical structure may not be able to be permanently saved, the culture can be saved through documentation. Lastly, the survey work will be used to define magnitude of project and as a preliminary step toward a larger grant application.
A GIS map is in creation for future access and use by local, parish and state entities. Two cemeteries recorded are not in the correct location on Google Maps. A list will be submitted to Google near the end of the project to ask for and highlight the need for correction.
Twenty-two cemeteries were recorded between July 2011 and January 2012. Of those cemeteries, 2 are partially submerged due to erosion, and 3 flood daily with the incoming tide. Four cemeteries are in severe disrepair due to storm surge damage post Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. All cemeteries recorded have been inundated by a combination of one or more of the hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike. A working partnership has been formed with DMORT to share data from cemeteries they have mapped, and to possibly help identify individuals located in FEMA replacement caskets as the research is carried out.
CONTACT Schexnayder, J. email@example.com