New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
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February 28, 1849 - The Odd Fellows Dedicate Their New Cemetary

February 28, 1849 - The Odd Fellows Dedicate Their New Cemetarysrc="/clientimages/40334/cultcha/today/feb28.jpg">
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows began meetings in New Orleans in 1831. It was a secret benevolent society. In the next 10 years, enough members had been enrolled with enough dues collected for the society to purchase land to be used as a cemetery. A triangular tract between Canal Street and Metairie Road (now City Park Avenue) and St. Patrick Cemetery was purchased for $700. Members of the organization were pleased with their purchase; the land was high and was one of the few places in the city to stay dry during the serious flooding of 1849.

Odd Fellows Rest had a well-organized design with “wall ovens” on two sides of the triangular piece of land. To honor some of its members, walks were laid out and named for those who served as past grand masters in the State of Louisiana. The dedication plans were discussed, and great pomp and ceremony were planned for the dedication date on February 28, 1849. The plan called for a grand procession led by two circus band wagons; one from Stone and McCollum’s Circus, to be drawn by sixteen magnificent horses, and the second from the circus of S.P. Stickney, drawn by four horses. The band wagons were followed by a funeral “car.”

It carried the remains of 16 deceased members of the organization gathered from various cemeteries throughout the city.

After leaving the Place d’Armes the procession traveled through Chartres, Canal, Esplanade, Camp and St. Joseph Streets. Members then headed to the New Basin Canal, where the Odd Fellows boarded 35 chartered omnibuses for the trip along the New Basin shell road to the site of the cemetery three miles away. At this point, the procession stretched out for a mile. Leaders of the grand lodge did not go by way of the shell road; instead they made the trip by water, after boarding passenger barges on the New Basin Canal that took them to within a short distance of their own cemetery.

Although the society is no longer active, the secret benevolent society of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows made a lasting impression on Feb. 28, 1849.

Source: http://clarionherald.org/20001123/stall.htm

A lot of people wonder where black people bury their families. This is the South, after all, and we had our share of segregation in New Orleans. For Catholics, this wasn't a big deal, since the Church never tolerated segregation. In church parishes, segregation was de facto, by neighborhood, but if you were Catholic, you could buy a tomb in a Catholic cemetery and bury your dead right next to the white folks. This is how a family like the Morials came to have a tomb in St. Louis Number One. If you weren't Catholic, however, you could run into some difficulty. That's why benevolent societies like the Odd Fellows purchased land just outside of town for a cemetery. The Odd Fellows were a benevolent society, not unlike the Masons or Knights of Columbus. The best way to avoid the problem of where to bury your family is to buy your own cemetery.

Odd Fellow's Rest is probably the least-known or least-explored of the cemeteries at the foot of Canal, for two reasons: First, since those buried there are primarily non-Catholic black folks, the people who will come to visit the graves of family are limited. Second, the cemetery is surrounded by a ten-foot concrete wall, making it very uninviting. The location is prime space, being right on the foot of Canal, but it's still pretty much a mystery to many.

Source:
http://www.yatcom.com/neworl/lifestyle/cemfootcanal.html
http://www.bestofneworleans.com/dispatch/2002-07-23/blake.html

By BUDDY STALL

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows began meetings in New Orleans in 1831. It was a secret benevolent society. In the next 10 years, enough members had been enrolled with enough dues collected for the society to purchase land to be used as a cemetery. A triangular tract between Canal Street and Metairie Road (now City Park Avenue) and St. Patrick Cemetery was purchased for $700. Members of the organization were pleased with their purchase; the land was high and was one of the few places in the city to stay dry during the serious flooding of 1849.

Odd Fellows Rest had a well-organized design with “wall ovens” on two sides of the triangular piece of land. To honor some of its members, walks were laid out and named for those who served as past grand masters in the State of Louisiana. The dedication plans were discussed, and great pomp and ceremony were planned for the dedication date on February 28, 1849. The plan called for a grand procession led by two circus band wagons; one from Stone and McCollum’s Circus, to be drawn by sixteen magnificent horses, and the second from the circus of S.P. Stickney, drawn by four horses. The band wagons were followed by a funeral “car.”

It carried the remains of 16 deceased members of the organization gathered from various cemeteries throughout the city.

After leaving the Place d’Armes the procession traveled through Chartres, Canal, Esplanade, Camp and St. Joseph Streets. Members then headed to the New Basin Canal, where the Odd Fellows boarded 35 chartered omnibuses for the trip along the New Basin shell road to the site of the cemetery three miles away. At this point, the procession stretched out for a mile. Leaders of the grand lodge did not go by way of the shell road; instead they made the trip by water, after boarding passenger barges on the New Basin Canal that took them to within a short distance of their own cemetery.

Although the society is no longer active, the secret benevolent society of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows made a lasting impression on Feb. 28, 1849.

Source: Buddy Stall at http://clarionherald.org/20001123/stall.htm