Holt Cemetery is an outlier in New Orleans being one of the only below-ground cemeteries in the city. While nearby cemeteries have grandiose sculptures 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 to bury the poorer residents of the city. For Jazz fans, the cemetery houses Charles “Buddy” Bolen, Jessie Hill Jewell “Babe” Stovall, and more.
The cemetery often floods and is in disrepair. Money was allocated in 2013 to repair the city-owned cemetery, but it appears as of now, the money has not been spent.
That aside, the majority of the headstones and memorials are homemade. Names are handwritten, people hang up jerseys and leave teddy bears, and plots are lovingly decorated. By seeing the hands of the departed’s family and friends it is easy to get a sense of the person.