Archiver > LA-CEMETERY-PRESERVATION > 2008-07 > 1214933379

From: Louisiana Cemeteries <>
Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2008 10:29:39 -0700 (PDT)

Holt Cemetery was reported to Saving Graves in January 2001 and was in the newspaper recently.  This post was from the LAORLEAN rootsweb mailing list concerning recent efforts to clean up the cemetery.  Here is also the link from Saving Graves Report on Holt Cemetery from January 2001.

Volunteers tackle overgrown cemetery

Holt has suffered from years of neglect

Monday, June 30, 2008
By Nicole Dungca
Staff writer

When Artis Solomon tried to visit her father's grave recently, she was
disturbed by what she saw at Holt Cemetery.

Yellowed grass had grown more than 6 feet high in some areas, obscuring most
of the tombstones.
The grass was so high that Solomon couldn't find the grave of her father,
Oscar Solomon, who was buried in the city-owned cemetery off of City Park Avenue
in 1977.
So Solomon decided to take action. She called numerous organizations to find
people who could help clean up Holt, which has suffered years of chronic
neglect. Solomon's calls finally led her to Beacon of Hope, a Lakeview grass-roots
organization dedicated to restoring neighborhoods hard-hit by Hurricane
Her phone call became the catalyst for a project that brought almost 200
volunteers to Holt, traditionally a burial place for families of limited
financial means, on Thursday and Friday.
Solomon remembers her father as a giving man. When a shoe company he worked
for went out of business and gave him some of its remaining shoes, he lined up
extra pairs on his porch for his neighbors.
"People would try and buy them from him, but he said 'Take it, take it. I'm
not selling them!' " Solomon said.
So when Solomon spent her 65th birthday Thursday working with the other
volunteers, she was reminded of the values her father passed on to her.
"He would be here. He was always trying to help out," she said as she stood
in the cemetery, rake in hand.
She is inspired by the volunteers. "They are motivating me, and it should be
motivating the city to take more action," she said.
Established in 1879, Holt is the burial place of rhythm-and-blues singer
Jessie Hill and Buddy Bolden, a coronet player and legendary figure in the
development of jazz.
Volunteers, many from church groups, arrived from as far as Missouri and
Chattanooga, Tenn., to help in the cleanup effort. Most were shocked at the
condition of the historic cemetery.
"You couldn't see the tombstones. It hardly looked like a cemetery," said
Keith Huber, a Beacon of Hope project manager.
After just a few hours of work, the volunteers had made a world of progress.
Most of the tall grass had been cut down, leaving all the tombstones visible.
Solomon was able to find the graves of various family members. She stood
over the grave of an uncle on her mother's side and tried to remember how many of
her relatives were buried in that plot.
"Now let's see. There's my uncle, my grandfather, my aunt, and some of my
cousins. I think maybe six or seven?"
She still could not yet locate her father's grave -- the marker had been
knocked down years before -- but the absence of the overgrown grass will make the
search easier, she said.
As she stood in the area that contained her father's remains, she began
pointing out graves without tombstones that might be his.
"It could be that one," she said, holding the rake and a bouquet of flowers,
a birthday present from Heather Huth, the volunteer coordinator of Beacon of
Hope. "Or that one."
The search for her father's grave will continue after the volunteers are
long gone, Solomon said.
She is confident her search will soon yield results: She plans to visit the
main office of the Carrollton Cemetery on Green Street, which may have the
burial records to help her find her father's resting place.
. . . . . . .
Nicole Dungca can be reached at or 504.826.3321.

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