Every time I looked at this marker, I had a funny little vision of random body parts buried randomly about this field- not too deep, maybe wrapped in something flimsy or some old gauze. An arm here or a leg there… pile of guts, maybe…

Then I read this on NOLACemeteries.com (now defunct):

“Charity Hospital Cemetery was established in 1847. It is is a mass grave for all of the poor of New Orleans. Thousands of patients without money or relatives have been buried in unmarked graves for almost 150 years. Most of the burials were from the Yellow Fever and Malaria epidemics that ravaged the city. The cemetery is never open and has a large iron fence with “No Trespassing” signs and barbed wire. In 1989, a monument was erected by the Tulane and L.S.U. Medical Schools to thank the people who donated their bodies to science. The cemetery is now closed and bodies that would have gone to the cemetery will now be cremated. The reason for the cemetery closure is because dogs got into the cemetery and dug up body parts, hence the chain-link fence and barbed wire.”

You can not out-absurd New Orleans, no matter how good your imagination.

Originally posted Jan2009