Chalmette National Cemetery to re-open for Memorial Day weekend
Chalmette National Cemetery will open for two days in honor of the Memorial Day weekend, according to officials of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve.
The cemetery, which has been closed since Hurricane Katrina struck the area, will open Sunday, May 28, and Monday, May 29, which is Memorial Day, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., a St. Bernard Parish news release says.
At 10 a.m. on that Sunday, Vietnam Veterans of VFW Post 3798 will present a tribute to America’s fallen troops. The public is invited.
To prepare for this annual ceremony, volunteers are needed to place American flags on graves Friday morning, May 26. Volunteers are also needed to pick up flags on Tuesday, May 30. For more information about the ceremony or to volunteer for flag placement or pickup, call Supervisory Park Ranger Aly Baltrus at 504-717-7499.
“In normal times the cemetery and the battlefield are open daily, but both areas suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Katrina,” Baltrus said. “However, despite the ongoing repairs, the park feels Memorial Day is so central to the cemetery that the holiday had to be observed. Just like we opened for one day for the Battle of New Orleans anniversary in January, we will open the cemetery for the Memorial Day holiday.”
Although the cemetery is closed to vehicles, the public may walk in to visit graves. Baltrus can be called to make special arrangements for vehicle access for those unable to walk to gravesites.
Chalmette National Cemetery, 8606 West St. Bernard Highway in Chalmette next to Chalmette Battlefield, The area is the site of the Battle of New Orleans on Jan. 8, 1815.
The cemetery and battlefield make up one of the six sites of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve.
More than 15,000 troops are buried at the cemetery, which was established in 1864 as a burial place for Union soldiers who died in Louisiana hospitals during the Civil War. Troops who served in conflicts ranging from the War of 1812 to the Vietnam War are also buried there.