Holt Cemetery

Holt Cemetery is an outlier in New Orleans by being one of the only below-ground. While nearby cemeteries have grandiose sculptures, vaults, and elaborate stones and foliage, these grounds feel immediate and human. Dr. Holt, well known for his work in Storyville, established the cemetery in 1879 as a potter’s field.

The cemetery is now city-owned and in disrepair. Scandals have plagued the space, from a “witch” stealing bones to sell online to misallocated funds.

That aside, it is a beautiful remembrance of loved ones. The majority of headstones and memorials are handmade. People leave jerseys, teddy bears, and painted portraits. It is ever-changing. If a family stops maintaining a plot, the city will re-use the ground to bury another person.

Notably for jazz fans, the cemetery houses Charles “Buddy” Bolen, Jessie Hill Jewell “Babe” Stovall, and more.

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