Memorial to Those Who Gave Their Bodies to Science at Charity Hospital Cemetery

It rained all day yesterday and was supposed to rain all day today too, but I checked the radar, and it looked like rain wouldn’t come in until the evening–plenty of time to get on the Surly and travel around town to see how folks are remembering the hurricane and the failure of the levees five years ago today. I headed to Mid-City and then out Canal to make a stop at the Katrina memorial at Charity Hospital Cemetery. This memorial, sponsored largely by local funeral homes who each laid a wreath there today, holds the remains of people who died in the floods and were not claimed or identified. This cemetery has a long history of memorializing the unknown and the impoverished, serving as the Potter’s Field of New Orleans from 1847 on. After a quiet tour of the memorial I headed back out to continue my bike ride. I stopped to snap this picture of a memorial headstone on the edge of the cemetery. I had to go out of my way to reach it, because it faces away from the walkway and is too close to the fence to see on the way in. It memorializes those who gave their bodies to science, who are also buried here. It made me think about how we remember, and how we have to keep remembering, we have to tend our memories, lest we forget. It’s a tricky thing, this remembering business. We have to mourn in ways that let us go on, but we can never, ever forget. And we can’t let those responsible off the hook. I got back on my bike, and the skies opened up. Radar be damned, I spent the rest of the afternoon getting drenched, watching Obama’s motorcade head up Canal to Xavier, tooling around Lakeview and Gentilly, learning an important lesson about traveling with an extra tube on someone’s dry porch in St. Bernard (it was so wet I couldn’t properly rough up the tube for patching. sigh. 45 minutes later, I was on my way…), and passing media truck after media truck in the Quarter before heading back Uptown. I love living and riding here. Thank you, New Orleans.

6 thoughts on “Memorial to Those Who Gave Their Bodies to Science at Charity Hospital Cemetery

  1. I really loved this blog and the mental images you painted for me. It was a memorable day and you are right, we cannot forget! j

  2. Thanks for the tidbit on the monument to people who donated their bodies to science; am thinking about doing that myself. can’t decide LSU (tiger fan) or Tulane (alma mater) med schools…But if Xavier wanted my carcass and would do right with it, that’s where it would go.
    Always enjoy your posts, happy trails.

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