An excerpt from the book, Spirits of the Bayou: Sanctuaries, Cemeteries and Hauntings

Located miles from the plantation itself, the cemetery was originally the resting place for plantation workers and slaves. Today it sits under the shadows of the Houma Civic Center and next door to the beautiful Terrebonne Parish Library. The cemetery was signed over to Terrebonne Parish on August 28, 2001 and they are responsible for upkeep.

With the new ownership, the public was invited to bury their loved ones on the property and it has become a resting place for many children. From a distance, it’s a touching scene; colorful graves peek through rows of white tombs with streaks of weathered stains.

On the grounds, one lone tree stands as the matriarch. She keeps watch over the many souls laid to rest in this most historic cemetery.

I believe there are no coincidences. There are powers far greater than we could ever realize. Be it the power of our ancestors or the playful spirits in sync with an artist dedicated to her craft, a string of miracles occurred that day, and nature granted me one unbelievable show.

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The sky grew thick with bruised clouds inching their way around the cemetery. Standing at the iron gate with camera in my hand, I stopped for a moment contemplating my deci- sion to venture into what looked like a scene from a doomsday movie. And then I saw the toys and stuffed animals scattered across the tombs; they were calling me.

One row seemed to be reserved for children, keeping each other company in what seemed to be an immortal playtime. Most were coffin-style cement tombs topped with a gable roof. Some were grey, while others a baby blue; one green with yellow trim, another a dark blue, and several pink tombs.

As the line of black clouds grows thicker, there’s a force that keeps me here and I feel compelled to stay. The wind has taken hold of the old Maple tree and sings a song of woe. Not the usual high-pitched whistle, but instead the baritone moans of a woodwind.

Fierce winds whip the Maple tree’s weeping moss and it hangs on for dear life. It was a show like none other, the immense line of heavy blue-black clouds ready to explode at any moment. After dozens of photos and ready to leave, I felt a presence, like a child throwing a temper tantrum. Someone wanted my attention.

The tomb was covered with tokens of a fourteen-year-old’s life. A giant stuffed dog with life-like eyes, dark buttons begging me to take a closer look. The granite headstone shares his passions, football, basketball and tennis shoes, along with the words, “Forever Young” and “Life Without End At Last.” He clearly was a young man full of life and dreams taken far too soon.

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But the story does not end there. I said goodbye to Cameron, and then I realized my car key was gone. Some 200 miles away from home and my car was locked with purse inside.

I had been roaming the cemetery taking pictures for a good hour and the weather would be letting loose at any moment.

In a panic, I stood there, hands on hips looking across the cemetery, and said, “Okay my darling kiddies. I had fun today, and not sure if this is a game you’re playing, but I really need my key right now. Could you please help me find the key?”

I marched up and down the rows moving the grass with my feet knowing this was an impossible situation. And then I felt him; I felt Cameron calling me, a vibrant young man who still loved to play games. I walked to Cameron’s grave and said, “Cameron, do you have my key? Are you playing a little trick on me?”

Right there, two feet from his grave in the dirt, was my key. I picked it up with tears in my eyes, thanked him and told him to enjoy his time playing ball in the afterlife.

You may purchase this book by clicking on the highlighted link of the name of the book above or here www.deborahburst.com