Tallulah residents concerned with old cemetery not being upkept

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TALLULAH, La. (KNOE) - Tallulah residents are raising concerns about an old cemetery they say isn't being properly maintained.

(Source: KNOE)

"His dad is buried right there. His name was Muff," Katherine Everett says. Her nephew recently visited his father's grave at the Oakwood Cemetery, but Everett says he won't go back because of the poor condition the grave is in.

"They won't come out here, because of the way it looks," Everett says. "If my grandmother was buried here, I would have a problem with it."

She says graves are sinking into the ground, and holes are forming with other graves inside them. She also says tombstones are being stacked on each other, and standing water floods others.

"It's not right. People want to come out here and see their family members, but you can't, because there's too much. There's graves on top of graves. There's beer cans, there's whiskey bottles. They need to clean that up."

Everett is now looking for the responsible group to clean up, and maintain Oakwood Cemetery. "If you go to the other cemeteries, it's nothing like this. Person I just saw said he maintained it, he did the maintenance. Well then why is all this stuff like it is?"

Oakwood Cemetery Board president Iree Jackson says the conditions have improved even though they’re still not ideal. "It's in way better shape than it's been, but it could be in better shape if we as black people could help to support it,” Jackson says.

Jackson says they are doing what they can, but it's tough to maintain the cemetery without money. "You need finance to operate anything, and especially a cemetery."

He says he's been trying to get the community involved to maintain Oakwood, which has been tough. "Perpetuary care is our responsibility, and when I say our, I mean black people,” Jackson says. “That cemetery, Oakwood Cemetery, belong to black folk."

Regardless of who is tasked with the upkeep of Oakwood, Everett says it's an eyesore that no family should have to see. "This is their family. This is their mom, dad, brother, sister, uncle. They can't even come look."

Jackson says he is available to talk with anyone who has concerns or wants to help clean up Oakwood Cemetery. He says people can call (318) 574-4164.