JEANERETTE, La. --- The Jeanerette Museum Board announces the history talk,
Fragile Grounds, based on the book
Fragile Grounds: Louisiana’s Endangered Cemeteries, to be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at the Jeanerette Museum.
Authors Jessica Schexnayder and Mary Manhein will discuss stories of endangered cemeteries throughout Louisiana's coastal zone and beyond. These burial places link the fragile land to the frailty of the state's threatened community structures.
The book highlights the state's vibrant diversity by showing its unique burial customs and traditions, while it also identifies the urgent need for ongoing documentation of cultural elements at risk.
Cemeteries associated with the culturally rich communities of Louisiana reflect the history and global settlement patterns of the state. Yet many are endangered due to recurring natural and man-made events. Nearly 80 percent of the nation's coastal land loss occurs in Louisiana. Coastal erosion, sinking land, flooding, storm surge, and sea-level rise have led to an inland migration that threatens to unravel the fabric of Louisiana and, by association, hastens the demise of its burial places.
As people are forced inland, migrants abandon, neglect, or often overlook cemeteries as part of the cultural landscape. In terms of erosion, when the land goes, the cemetery goes with it. Cemeteries fall prey to inland and coastal flooding. As cities grow outward, urban sprawl takes over the landscape. Cemeteries lose out to forces such as expansion, eminent domain, and urban neglect. Not only do cemeteries give comfort for the living, but they also serve as a vital link to the past. Once lost, that past cannot be recovered.
A book signing will follow the presentation. This history talk is being held free of charge and is suitable for an adult audience. Seating may be limited and is taken on a first come, first serve basis.
The local Water/Ways exhibit project is a part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities made possible through funding from the Walton Family Foundation.