An excerpt from the book, Louisiana’s Sacred Places: Churches, Cemeteries and Voodoo.
Traveling the towns and back roads of East Feliciana Parish, headstones are as much part of the historic landscape as coiled-hay- stacks and white picket fences. Past the blur of crooked telephone poles and barbwire fences, are one-room chapels surrounded by scattered headstones. Country chapels often buried their dead on these holy grounds completing the circle of life: baptismal, marriage, funeral and burial.
The Jewish and Masonic cemeteries share the same grounds, with the Jewish section on the western end of the cemetery labeled by a small sign. Past the stoic wrought iron fence under a piercing blue sky and a deep-green perimeter of towering pines and oaks, marble and granite monuments lay claim to many Jewish souls. Several were early cotton merchants and part of the German-Jewish settlers that helped build Clinton’s commercial and cultural life in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Most headstones are in English, while some include Hebrew inscriptions, names like Solomon Bloom who died in 1879 at the age of 84 serving in an unknown regiment during the Civil War. One peculiar stone rests against a tree. A portion missing from the stone, thorny vines crawl across several lines of Hebrew. The first name is torn away, but the second appears to be Michael perhaps a native of St. Francisville, with a worn date of 1863, the same date of the infamous Port Hudson siege and shelling of St. Francisville.
For more info on traveling through East Feliciana Parish, visit their tourism website.
For more historic sites throughout the Feliciana Parishes visit the state website on the Port Hudson Historic Site. www.crt.state.la.us/louisiana-state- parks/historic-sites/port-hudson-state-historic-site/index