Carville Patients' Cemetery, National Leprosarium.

Stop 8 of 9 in the Carville: The National Leprosarium tour

The Carville cemetery is the only stop on the tour where you may exit your vehicle and take photographs. Just beyond the cemetery is a hospital incinerator with a driving ramp and tower built in the 1920s to dispose of all waste. Remember that nothing was allowed to leave the grounds.

This is the second patient cemetery and was established in 1922 by the federal government. About 750 patients are buried here. These stones were provided by the federal government and resemble markers you might see in a military cemetery. Each stone is engraved with a patient's hospital ID number and either their real or false name. Some patients purchased their own ornamental markers.

In many cases, a patient chose to be buried using his “Carville name” to hide identity even in death. Several times a month, families come to Carville in search of a “long lost” relative. In cases like this, the Medical Records Department can make a positive identification by using old medical charts. The museum offers a schematic of the cemetery to help searching families locate a stone.

Carville’s first patient cemetery is located in the front quad of the patients' dorms. Because the first cemetery isn’t accessible to the public, the 40 & 8, a veterans’ organization and patients' benefactors since the 1940s, produced a memorial stone with the names of the first 137 patients to die and be buried here. It is the large grey marble marker to your right, at about 4 o’clock. When you examine the names, you will notice that some of these earlier patients were buried using a first name or initials only. One obvious pseudonym is “George Washington.”

32 veterans are buried here--from the Spanish American War to the Vietnam war— and each of these graves is marked with an American Legion star.

Images

2nd Patient Cemetery at Carville, National Leprosarium.

2nd Patient Cemetery at Carville, National Leprosarium.

There are about 750 burials in this cemetery. The first burial was in 1922, and the last burial in 2014. Only those patients who were quarantined by law may be buried here. | Source: Photograph courtesy of Vickie Joseph. View File Details Page

Patients' Cemetery at Carville, the National Leprosarium. .

Patients' Cemetery at Carville, the National Leprosarium. .

Most of the memorial stones are government issued, much like those that are placed in military cemeteries. Information engraved into stone: Name Death date Hospital ID number Some patients purchased their own stones that reflected religious preferences and had personalized inscriptions. | Source: Photograph courtesy of Vickie Joseph View File Details Page

Funeral services in Sacred Heart Chapel<br /><br />

Funeral services in Sacred Heart Chapel

This funeral is probably for Sr. Zoe Schieswohl, Chief Nurse, who is only one of three Daughters of Charity buried on site in the patients' cemetery. | Source: Image Courtesy of the National Hansen's Disease Museum, Permanent Collection. Carville, LA. View File Details Page

Sr. Hilary Ross in Patient Cemetery, Carville, National Leprosarium. <br /><br />
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Sr. Hilary Ross in Patient Cemetery, Carville, National Leprosarium.

Probably late 1920s, early 1930s. | Source: Image Courtesy of the National Hansen's Disease Museum, Permanent Collection. Carville, LA. View File Details Page

First Patients' Cemetery (1895-1922)

First Patients' Cemetery (1895-1922)

In 1922, shortly after the federal government took over the hospital, the first patients' cemetery was closed. A monument with engraved names replaced individual markers, and a ceremony was held by patients and staff to commemorate those first 137 patients buried on-site. | Source: Image Courtesy of the National Hansen's Disease Museum, Permanent Collection. Carville, LA. View File Details Page

Audio

Carville driving tour, Stop #8 (Patients' Cemetery) of the Carville: The National Leprosarium tour

Audio narration for stop 8 (Patients' Cemetery) of the Carville: The National Leprosarium tour. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Elizabeth Schexnyder, Curator, National Hansen's Disease Museum, Carville, LA, “Carville Patients' Cemetery, National Leprosarium. ,” New Orleans Historical, accessed May 26, 2017, http://neworleanshistorical.org/items/show/637.
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