SHREVEPORT — Shreveport’s
historic Greenwood Cemetery may soon see an amphitheater, a manmade
lake and walking trails with scenic overlooks if the group turning it
into a garden cemetery has its way.
Garden Study Club, which oversees the group Friends of Greenwood
Cemetery, has kicked off the next part of its ongoing program to
preserve and improve the cemetery, which is the final resting place for
some of the city’s and region’s more notable public, military and civic
“Lots of the people who have made this
city what it is are buried here,” club spokeswoman Susan Hardtner said.
“Now we are about to embark on phase two of turning this into a garden
cemetery, a wonderful completeness.”
other club leaders this month unveiled their latest plans for the
cemetery, a 72-acre tract on the site of the old Stoner Plantation, and
occupying land that once held a Confederate hospital and gun batteries
defending the city against Union attacks that never came.
in 1892, it is the last home for several Shreveport mayors, hundreds of
military personnel, a former Louisiana governor, internationally famous
musicians and painters, millionaires, paupers, scoundrels and
In 1997, the Garden Club entered
into a partnership with the city of Shreveport and Shreveport Public
Assembly and Recreation, which oversees the city’s parks and
cemeteries, to turn Greenwood into a scenic garden, arboretum and
tourism draw along the lines of historic Mount Auburn Cemetery in
Over the past decade, in partnership with
the city, the club has raised money to build a modern gate house, erect
fences and signs, and improve streets, drainage and other physical
Club members raised $35,000 to
commission a master plan by noted cemetery architect Jon Emerson of
Baton Rouge. It also raised $15,000 to prune and feed endangered native
trees, started a memorial tree program, presented symposia at the
cemetery, instituted educational programs for area eighth-graders,
encouraged historical research and created tour maps and brochures
highlighting its most-famous residents and sections.
Hardtner said members will vote on pursuing the next phase at the club’s April 7 meeting.
a recent Thursday, dozens of students from LSU at Shreveport roamed the
cemetery, cataloging burial dates for 1,000 markers as part of an
ecology project. The same day, garden club planners and Emerson visited
the cemetery to begin to develop a project budget for the amphitheater
These will occupy the “dell” area of the
cemetery, ravines and wooded hollows on the north side of the burial
ground that have no use for burials.
amphitheater will use the natural bowl of the four-acre dell to provide
a place for services, memorials and other assemblies, with a nearby
columbarium that also will have sanitary facilities for visitors.
The lake will be nearby, with water to be piped and held in with a weir and dam, creating a wetland, Hardtner said.
plan also calls for creating scenic overlooks and rest areas at high
points in the cemetery, which will be connected by paths that
incorporate its walking tour.
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