I recently sent an e-mail to Alex Cenla’s Rants and Ravings asking him to help bring attention to what I consider Rapides Parish’s biggest embarrassment. He very kindly wrote about it on his blog. I am posting my letter here so that my few followers can read about it also. It is my hope that more people will be as outraged as I am and get on board to help give these people the dignity they deserve.
I am sure you are aware that the State of Louisiana is planning on closing Central State Hospital and selling the grounds. Everyone in the area is talking about the economic impact of the sale, whether they think it will be a good move or a bad one.
What no one has mentioned is the cemetery. There are 2465 people buried in unmarked graves in that cemetery. Ten, maybe twelve, have markers bought by family members on a concrete slab at the front of the cemetery. Some of these people were buried over a hundred years ago. Their families don’t even know where they are buried. Some were buried during a time when their families didn’t have enough money to bring them home for burial. Some were buried days and weeks before their families were notified. Some families learned of their death when they came to visit.
Where is the outrage? Why aren’t people talking about this? There are 2465 people buried in unmarked graves right under their noses. These people had an illness. They didn’t do anything to deserve being forgotten as if they never lived. Some of these people had a disease such as TB , some were homeless. There are two babies buried there. Even the vilest criminals have markers on their graves. Angola has a very nice cemetery.
Ray Moreau and a very small group of people have worked for years trying to preserve the cemetery and put up markers. Their numbers are growing but at a snail’s pace. They get no coverage by KALB, KLAX or The Town Talk. They may mention the memorial service each year or a fund-raiser but that is it. They don’t do anything to bring the fight to the people of Cenla. There are some rich people in this area who could donate enough money to at least protect the cemetery. The problem is they have never had it put in their face. It is a non-issue.
Will you help us by writing about it on your blog? Will you help us bring the cemetery to the conversation? Will you help us recognize all those people with the respect they deserve?
As I said Alex Cenla’s Rants and Ravings wrote about the cemetery and challenged the people of Cenla to make the memorial happen.
You can follow the committee’s Facebook page at Central Louisiana State Hospital Cemetery Preservation. Their e-mail is CLSHCemetery@gmail.com.
If you would like to help us preserve the cemetery you can send a donation to:
The Extra Mile Cemetery Fund
PO Box 3178
Pineville, LA 71361-3178
All donations will be deeply appreciated.
Donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by IRS regulations.