The following article was published on April 29, 2009 where it indicated that work was
tentatively scheduled for TODAY.
Michigan archaeologist to study ex-pauper cemetery
SHREVEPORT, La. – An archaeologist from Michigan wants to use remote sensing equipment to look for graves in a ravine once used for pauper burials at Shreveport’s Greenwood Cemetery – and possibly also to bury Civil War soldiers.
Weather permitting, Ronald Bacon of Superior Environmental in Wixom, Mich., planned to start Wednesday in the area called “The Dell.”
The work should take a day or two, he said. The first pass over the ground uses an electromagnetic induction device, with ground penetrating radar for more detailed looks.
The Shreveport Garden Study Club plans a small lake and a columbarium – wall spaces for cremated remains – in the area, which occupies about four acres of the 72-acre, 110-year-old cemetery.
That area and an adjacent strip of private land also may hold unmarked graves of more than 150 Union and Confederate soldiers who died at the nearby Shreveport Marine Hospital.
Grave locations will determine where digging is allowed, said Susan Hardtner, head of the garden club’s Greenwood Cemetery project.
Areas with graves may be flooded or built on, as long as there’s no digging, she said.
On May 9, a morning cleanup and lecture are planned at Greenwood Cemetery, and an afternoon cleanup is planned at Star Cemetery.
School groups come to Greenwood Cemetery to learn local history, and the pond – planned to include a wetland and the sorts of trees found as land rises from swamp to higher ground – will allow natural history lessons as well, Hardtner said.
Several Shreveport mayors, a governor, hundreds of military personnel, famous musicians and painters and philanthropists are buried there.
The Star Cemetery, opened in 1883, was Shreveport’s first cemetery for and operated by African-Americans. It holds graves of pioneer and early community leaders, of at least one black Civil War veteran and veterans of other wars through the Korean War.
The one Civil War marker is for Jackson Fisher, was born into slavery, served in the 97th U.S. Colored Troops and died in a fire in 1940 when he was 93.