There is a timeless, weather worn beauty that makes the cemeteries in New Orleans have a magical feel to them. I don’t know if this feeling emanates from the palm fronds or the fact that some of the paths are lined with dirt, sand, stones, and seashells. Whatever the reason for this is, it’s downright enchanting.
Cypress Grove Cemetery became the first cemetery built to honor New Orleans volunteer firemen and their families. It was made possible in 1838 by New Orleans philanthropist Stephen Henderson whose estate left property to the Firemen’s Charitable & Benevolent Association. The charitable association sold this property to fund the purchase of the cemetery site at the end of Canal Street and the former banks of Bayou Metairie.
The Firemen’s Charitable & Benevolent Association established Cypress Grove Cemetery in 1840. Architect Frederick Wilkinson patterned the grand entrance pylons and lodges after Egyptian ceremonial architecture. Crowning this imposing entrance was the motto: ”Here to their bosom mother earth, take back in peace what thou has given, and, all that is of heavenly birth, God in peace recall to heaven.”
Charles L. Leeds ( Mayor of New Orleans, 1874-1876).
The Leeds Monument is impressive. The beautiful bronze color and aging on the building is stunning.
His administration succeeded in passing an act in the state legislature empowering the city of New Orleans to take over drainage projects. During his tenure a drainage canal on Nashville Avenue was completed to drain the low area between St. Charles Avenue and the Mississippi River. Leeds also extended the street railways, extending the line running out to the Lake Pontchartrain Summer Resort. Mayor Leeds died in 1898 at the age of 75 and became the first Mayor of New Orleans interred in Cypress Grove.
Pictured: Cypress Grove Cemetery
Property of Charlotte Ashcroft Photography
To check out other photos of Cypress Grove Cemetery please click here.
120 City Park Avenue
New Orleans, Louisiana USA