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Cypress Grove Cemetery Gate and Lodge

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1840, Frederick Wilkinson. 120 City Park Ave.
  • (Photograph by Lake Douglas)
  • (Photograph by Lake Douglas)
  • (Photograph by Lake Douglas)

Established by the Firemen’s Charitable Association, Cypress Grove Cemetery is located on a ridge four miles from the city center. Although graves here could be sunk six feet without reaching groundwater, the preference for above-ground tombs found elsewhere in the city persisted. The cemetery, laid out with a twenty-eight-foot-wide central avenue flanked by narrower aisles, has a monumental Egyptian Revival entrance gate, suggesting a triumphal passage from one world to the next. The stuccoed brick gate was originally topped by a lintel, making it similar in appearance to the Egyptian Revival gate at Mount Auburn Cemetery (1831) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Wilkinson came to New Orleans from the northeastern United States, so it is likely that he was familiar with Mount Auburn.) Two pavilions flank the gate, one a porter’s lodge and the other the so-called “dead house.” On a practical level, gates and gatehouses were essential for cemetery security in the nineteenth century, because grave robbery was a problem until the medical profession was able to obtain cadavers legally. One of the cemetery’s finest tombs, adapted from a design in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, is J. N. B. de Pouilly’s monument for fireman Irad Ferry (1841), composed of a large broken column, symbolizing the extinction of life, rising from a sarcophagus-shaped marble tomb. Across the road, at 5242 Canal Boulevard, is Greenwood Cemetery, established in 1852 by the Firemen’s Charitable Association, which has a cluster of magnificent tombs near its entrance. The tomb for the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, Lodge No. 30, is a marble chamber covered by a grassy mound and surmounted by a bronze elk. The tomb is lopsided; its pedimented granite entrance with Doric columns tilts perilously forward, sinking into the soft ground because the engineer failed to include a pile foundation.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Karen Kingsley and Lake Douglas
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Citation

Karen Kingsley and Lake Douglas, "Cypress Grove Cemetery Gate and Lodge", [New Orleans, Louisiana], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/LA-02-OR197.

Print Source

buildings of new orleans book

Buildings of New Orleans, Karen Kingsley and Lake Douglas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2018, 229-230.

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