November 5, 2016 by DSUpshaw
CLSH Cemetery Committee: Remarks26th Annual All Soul’s Memorial Service
November 4, 2016
Please stand if you are a Member of the CLSH Cemetery Committee: (Abigail Sebastian), Julia Peterman, Herbie Lou Flynn, Gary Mathews, Dee Smart, Sam Mayeux, Sylvia Walker, Debbie Upshaw, Paul Benoit, and Pattie Burgess-Thompson. Thank you for your service.
This committee was organized by our beloved Ray Moreau, whom we remember today. I would like to recognize his wife, Mrs. Lady Moreau, who is here with us. The theme of our committee is “Putting Names to Numbers,” since most of the 2,469 souls buried here have only a concrete block with their Patient ID stamped into it, sunk into this pasture somewhere. We DO have a list of each name in a private hospital file.
Our committee has made so much progress during the past year or two!
We have learned a LOT about rules and state laws for Louisiana Cemeteries!
Along with Mr. Ron Williams, the CEO for Central, we have developed a friendship with the State Archaeologist, Dr. Chip McGimsey. He has officially recognized that this cemetery exists and gave us permission to have Ground Penetrating Radar, GPR, done at this site. In his letter to us he wrote, “We thank the Hospital and the Committee for their efforts on this project. The markers represent an important step in marking the history and heritage of this site.”
We also found a helpful archaeologist, Velecia Bergstrom of the US Forest Service, to provide the expertise and supervision required by the State of Louisiana at a cemetery.
Next, the ‘GPR of New Orleans, Inc.’ came here for a day and performed GPR around the edges of this site to help us establish a perimeter for the cemetery. They also determined the depth of the burials here around our Memorial location, so we could safely build a foundation for the Memorials.
Thanks to National Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS) and Barron, Heinberg & Brocato Architects, the GPS location report of this perimeter has been integrated technologically with the two earlier hand-marked surveys so that we have an actual disk and print-out of the perimeter of the cemetery. You can see this over at the Rose Cottage during our Reception.
After receiving permission from Dr. McGimsey, approval from Mr. Williams, and with personal supervision by Mrs. Bergstrom, we hired Melvin Smith Concrete Work to build the foundation you can see here. It will hold six Markers with the first initial, last name and date of death for each of the 2,469 souls buried here. Our outline of the Memorial will also be at the Rose Cottage for you to study.
All of this has depleted most of our existing funds, so we continue to accept donations, write grants, and hold fund-raisers. Your ideas and help are always welcome!
We would like to express our appreciation as a committee to the following individuals and groups:
1. Debbie Upshaw, who has set up and monitors our social media: Facebook and Twitter. Please do follow us!
2. Sylvia Walker, who handles the search for names. For example, we received a letter from a gentleman in the New Orleans area, whose 90 year old mother believed that her brother had died here as a patient. Sylvia was able to verify that person & gave such a sense of comfort to the Mother and her son.
3. Gary Mathews, Sam Mayeux, and Dee Smart, who have been our ‘on the ground’ Cemetery Committee Supervisors for these projects.
4. Mr. Melvin and his company for providing us such a good deal on the Foundation Building and staying through the rain and the dark to complete the work!
5. The Horses Helping People organization across the street for providing drinking water & facilities for the workers to use during the late night.
6. Barron, Heinberg & Brocato Architects for providing, gratis, an updated Google Earth Survey integrating our old and new surveys. This is critical information to the City of Pineville and the State of Louisiana.
7. Cleco, for their $2,500 Grant for our nonprofit, and a special thank you to their PR Liaison, Mrs. Robbyn Cooper.
8. Velecia Bergstrom, our personal volunteer Archaeologist, who has spent her time and helped us do so much work the correct way to respect the souls who are interred her. On behalf of the Committee, and Mr. Williams, we would like to show her our appreciation with this Plaque.
Abigail Sebastian, Secretary
CLSH Cemetery Committee