An excerpt from my book, “Louisiana’s Sacred Places: Churches, Cemeteries and Voodoo.” Postage-free, signed copies available via the author website, click on title of the book to order and view the book’s photo gallery. All text and photographs copyrighted.

Shadows of the past come alive inside the holy grounds of the Grace Church cemetery. In a ghoulish art exhibit, shadowed headstones shrouded by weeping strands of moss share poetic epitaphs of beloved children, prominent aristocrats and fallen war heroes. The early settlers of West Feliciana whisper centuries-old tales of hardships and profits.

Stretching across the headstones the sprawling oaks appear to be caressing the dearly departed. It is a land of moving contrasts, the living and the dead. Freshly sprouted leaves glisten inside a web of wrinkled bark filled with weeping moss. And resurrection vines crawl along the branches nurtured by the humid air. A poetic epitaph says it all: “He is not dead, but sleepeth.”

Although many signs point to a fitting home for festive spirits, the church offers no ghost tales and the cemetery is still an active burial ground for faithful members of the church parish. Some of the oldest graves, the church notes, have living descendants in West Feliciana and Grace Church.

For more historic sites throughout the Feliciana Parishes visit the state website on the Port Hudson Historic Site. parks/historic-sites/port-hudson-state-historic-site/index