Blog Archives

Week of Randomness: Detail, cemetery

My mother-in-law is buried in this cemetery; it’s 600 miles from where we live, so our visits there are infrequent.

The last time we were there, it was early in the morning, and there was an old lady walking up the middle of the little cemetery road. From a distance – and even as she got closer – she looked exactly like my late mother-in-law. It was an odd feeling to watch her slow approach.

She spoke to us as she passed. Ghosts don’t talk, do they?

Anyway, this is a detail of tomb that’s in her cemetery neighborhood.

Kearney, Nebraska
photographed 8.30.2014

Just the slightest tilt

It takes a trained craftsperson, probably, to spot the very, very slight out-of-plumb element here.

(If you can’t find it, let me know. I don’t mind giving hints.)

Metairie Cemetery
New Orleans, Louisiana
photographed 4.24.2018

Built as a ruin

This is a folly. That is to say it’s “a whimsical or extravagant structure built to serve as a conversation piece, lend interest to a view, commemorate a person or event, etc.; found especially in England in the 18th century.”*

Or, in this case, found in New Orleans in the 21st century.

Metairie Cemetery
New Orleans, Louisiana
photographed 4.24.2018

* as per dictionary.com.

Tomb’s Quiet Interior


Many of the tombs here at the Metairie Cemetery are inaccessible – there are heavy, locked gates across them. Fortunately, though, my camera fit between the bars of the gates and I was able to capture this graceful interior.

Historical note: the cemetery grounds were originally a horse-racing track. And New Orleans being New Orleans, the story doesn’t stop there:

Metairie Cemetery was built upon the grounds of the old Metairie Race Course after it went bankrupt. The race track, which was owned by the Metairie Jockey Club, refused membership to Charles T. Howard, a local resident who had gained his wealth by starting the first Louisiana State Lottery. After being refused membership, Howard vowed that the race course would become a cemetery. Sure enough, after the Civil War and Reconstruction, the track went bankrupt and Howard was able to see his curse come true. Today, Howard is buried in his tomb located on Central Avenue in the cemetery, which was built following the original oval layout of the track itself. Mr. Howard died in 1885 in Dobbs Ferry, New York when he fell from a newly purchased horse.*

Metairie Cemetery
New Orleans, Louisiana
photographed 4.24.2018

*Read more here.

Confederacy

For some reason, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia has a large monument here in this cemetery in New Orleans.

I am not going to get drawn into the argument about tearing down (or not) monuments to various “heroes” of the Confederacy. Nope. I won’t.

All I am doing here is recording the way the light is coming in from the back of this monument. And the way the many of the names have worn away. And the way those two Confederate flags sure do look new, in spite of the fact that there is a heavy, locked gate across the entrance to the memorial.

Metairie Cemetery
New Orleans, Louisiana
photographed 4.24.2018

%d bloggers like this: