Plantation Cemetery

Almost all of the sugar grown in the United States before the Civil War came from Louisiana. After the Civil War, as many as 20,000 freedmen worked over 170,000 acres across Louisiana. The sugarcane fields outside of Baton Rouge are home to over a dozen forgotten cemeteries. Farmers would bury the deceased on a portion of their land that was not farmable. Without a sign or fence, many of these plantation cemeteries have been forgotten. The sugar plantation ceased operations in the 1980s. The associated church is long gone. Over the years, the property has been sold and divided. Today, a portion of the original plantation is still used for sugarcane farming.

Plantation Cemetery
There are 31 documented African-American burials in this cemetery. Some graves are just an unmarked ripple in the ground.

Before 1916 death certificates were not mandatory, so the actual burial count is unknown. Some graves have been completely lost due to flooding over the last century. A local cemetery preservation group is working to preserve, document, and clean up these forgotten cemeteries. In 2018, the Louisiana Legislature passed a bill that created the Slavery Ancestral Burial Grounds Preservation Commission.

Cemetery
Like most plantation cemeteries in the area, the graves are surrounded by Louisiana agriculture and industry.
Cemetery
The oldest known burials date back to the early 1900s. According to a cemetery preservation group, this handwritten marker was placed here post-Civil War.
Cemetery
Vines stretch over the old concrete vaults.
Cemetery
The names are no longer identifiable on some.
Cemetery
These graves are descendants of the enslaved that once worked the sugar plantation.
Cemetery
Several of the old concrete vaults are in severe disrepair.
Cemetery
Several graves belong to WWI and WWII veterans.

 

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