I’m so blessed that I live Louisiana which is full of rich history and a cemetery explorers dream. But my next adventure took me to Orange, Texas to a very small place full of history and sadness called the Hollywood Community Cemetery.
Hollywood Cemetery lies on a very small portion of land surrounded by a vacant buildings and a few houses. The cemetery is old and the grass is getting high in some areas, but that is the least of the worries for the souls laid to rest here. A total of 3 times hurricanes, storms, and flooding have unearthed caskets from their tombs and ground. Caskets had been lifted by the rising waters and carried across streets and actually settled in front yards. The bones of those laid to rest here have been lost forever and some caskets were never recovered.
(Hollywood Community Cemetery flooding, picture from NPR website 2017)
The community came together and did their very best to bury everyone again and put these souls at rest but with the next flooding another unearthing is sure to happen.
Hollywood Community Cemetery is also known to be the oldest African American cemetery in that area. Many veterans and educators are buried here along with squared off plots for families. Also buried here is the famous blues musician Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. Clarence has a music history scroll that you have to read yourself, I couldn’t even come close to doing it justice here. In 2005 though he was evacuated due to Hurricane Katrina from his Slidell, Louisiana home and brought back to Orange Texas to live until his death in September of that same year.
This cemetery had a different feeling, I felt sadness and loss, uneasy rest and a bit of chaos. I felt that these souls have been disturbed so many times and may find themselves unsure of what may happen next. The community will continue to do their best to maintain this cemetery and keep the history alive.
Has anyone else been to a cemetery where Mother Nature’s wrath may have disturbed it? If so we would like to hear about it.