Date of Award
Planning and Urban Studies
Gray, D. Ryan
Chamerlain III, Charles
In many contexts, cemeteries are an afterthought, both in terms of their design and situation in the landscape as well as in terms of what to do when they are encountered during development or other activities. How these sites have been managed and treated, at least historically, often has been a function of who is buried in them. In such situations, considerations regarding the preservation or protection of marginalized peoples’ final resting places were often nonexistent and, consequently, these sites were violently erased from the landscape. Indeed, archaeological evidence has recently demonstrated substantial deviations in practice from de jure legal protections that often appear to occur along class and racial lines. Such acts of landscape structural violence in the New Orleans area are the subject of this dissertation. Through a review of archival sources, archaeological evidence, and legal mandates, including federal legislation like NAGPRA, this research examines the evolution of cemetery site protections in Louisiana over time, in part to track the ebbs and flows of de jure versus de facto cemetery protections as well as the causation for divergences of these categories. Recent cemetery protection laws can be effective tools for unmarked cemeteries, especially when coupled with ancient concepts of land use. However, these legal protections must be coupled with effective community involvement to correct the history of unequal treatment of cemeteries in the past.
Seidemann, Ryan M., "Final Vestiges of Existence: The Survival and Protection of Cemeteries as Landscapes of Grieving and Cultural Memory in Louisiana" (2021). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 3011.