On Saturday, April 18th, 2015, the human remains recovered from the St. Peter Street Cemetery in 2011 were again laid to rest, this time in a vault in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. This reinterment was commemorated with a memorial mass at St. Augustine Catholic Church, followed by a procession to the resting place in St. Louis Cemetery, and a “Celebration of Remembering and Healing” organized by the Umoja Committee, originally planned to take place in Congo Square but moved to the Tremé Recreation Center because of inclement weather. Ms. Linda Harris from St. Augustine and Ms. Sabrina Montana of the Umoja Committee were tireless in their efforts to organize the events, pictures and video from which are included here.
While the reburial event represented an end of sorts to the story of those whose remains were recovered in 2011, the story of the St. Peter Street Cemetery itself goes on. Human remains have been discovered many times on the block over the years, suggesting that thousands of the city’s Colonial era residents are still buried under the residences and businesses now located there. This creates a complicated situation from a legal standpoint, as the entirety of the square is private property. While Louisiana state law forbids the desecration of cemeteries, it is often up to property owners to make sure that what they are doing doesn’t impact human remains on the site, and some may not even be aware of the possibility.
This section tells about some of the different rediscoveries of the St. Peter Street Cemetery, and about the recovery and reburial process for the human remains recovered in 2011.