The Charity Hospital’s Cypress Grove II Cemetery was used actively between the 1850s and the 1920s to bury the poor and those who succumbed to illness and disease at the hospital. Included in these burials were enslaved people, immigrants, victims of a yellow fever epidemic, and fallen Civil War soldiers.
Its location occupies an area adjacent to Greenwood Cemetery and St. Patrick’s Cemetery No. 3, with Rosedale Drive covering its north and City Park Avenue its south. The current site location is now part of Canal Boulevard, due to an extension that was done to the south and northbound lanes in 1986.
During construction, workers discovered a series of coffins made of wood as well as what appeared to be human skeletal remains littering the southbound lane during their process of pavement resurfacing and drainage replacement. As a result of this discovery, the City Attorney contacted the University of New Orleans Department of Anthropology’s Archaeological and Cultural Research Program in order to conduct a preliminary archaeological investigation to gauge the possible cultural significance of the site and possible adverse effects of continued construction. The University of New Orleans’ Department of Anthropology, the City Streets Department of New Orleans, and the Louisiana State Department of Transportation and Development created a mitigation plan to monitor and control the progress of the project and minimize the damage to the site. As a result of the archaeological investigations, approximately 157 burials were recovered as well as a myriad of artifacts related to the cultural and social lives of New Orleans’ working class during the 19th century.