Our exhibit “Sacred to the Memory: Gravestone Symbols in Bossier Parish Cemeteries” is back for the fall season. The display cases in the Historical Center will feature the exhibit through November. Although not as widely publicized as the cities of the dead in New Orleans and South Louisiana, the graveyards of North Louisiana are equally fascinating due to the wide range of tombstone symbols and imagery.
Plain Dealing Cemetery grave of John Gayle
Gravestones reflect the culture of the people who produce and erect them. Nineteenth and twentieth century monuments in Bossier Parish contain symbols that were recognizable to the people of the past, but the meanings are no longer as familiar. This exhibit shows how tombstones in our area cemeteries can give us clues about the age, birthplace, family bonds, religious affiliation, clubs and social organizations, and military service of the deceased.
As the weather starts to cool down, plan a visit to some of our local cemeteries and see the gravestone symbols for yourself. Please check on hours and be respectful of any regulations. Don’t forget to take one of our handouts with you so you can easily identify the symbols you may see. If you are searching for specific ancestors, check Clif Cardin’s book Bossier Parish Headstones: A Complete Inventory of All Known Cemeteries, Family Plots, and Lone Burials. It is available at all Bossier Parish Library branches, including here at the Historical Center.