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Owners of forgotten cemetery promise upkeep

Posted: Updated: June 27, 2014 12:45 AM
Husband and wife Jeff and Sandra Jarrell and their son Dallas spent their time Thursday cleaning up an overgrown cemetery after hearing the story of two cousins Wednesday. Husband and wife Jeff and Sandra Jarrell and their son Dallas spent their time Thursday cleaning up an overgrown cemetery after hearing the story of two cousins Wednesday.
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

Just days after complaints about a neglected, forgotten cemetery, good Samaritans step forward to help clean it up. And now KSLA News 12 has tracked down the owners who say they didn't even know it was a cemetery, but now promise to keep it up.

Rose-Neath Funeral Home was given the land years ago. And it's listed as a residential-vacant property. Now they promise to take care of the one-time cemetery. It's a happy ending for relatives who just days ago had called KSLA News 12 looking for help.

Our story of this nearly-forgotten, one-time cemetery begins earlier this week when cousins Brandy and Johnny Anderson called KSLA News 12 to tell us about the condition of this acre of land right across the street from Mount Zion Baptist Church in south Shreveport. "Can't even find the marker," said Johnny Anderson.

His grandmother and aunt are buried at the cemetery. He and Brandy said they know the general vicinity of the graves, but because of neglect, properly visiting the burial grounds and paying respect was impossible. "It hurts. It hurts. It hurts real bad," added Anderson.

When Dallas Wall and his family saw the condition of this cemetery on KSLA News 12 Wednesday, They stepped up with their lawnmowers, and weed eaters on Thursday.

After several hours of back breaking work they realized it was at least a two-day job. So, they tackled it again today. "I looked at it and said we are not going to get finished today, so I said Lord please help us," said Wall.

Help arrived. And not just any help, but professionals. In between yards. Decided to stop by here and be neighborly," said lawn care worker Garry McCraw.

Johnny and Brandy Anderson had always thought Mt. Zion Baptist Church owned the cemetery. But, church officials later told us they don't own it. So, KSLA News 12 checked the Caddo Tax Assessor's web site. It lists the owner as Rose-Neath Funeral Home.

Their reaction: "Surprise. We have many donated parcels of land and this was designated as a vacant, residential lot," explained Margaret Shehee. She says the land was donated years ago and they've even paid taxes on it, something the tax assessor's office said would not be necessary if the property was considered a cemetery.

And cemeteries are normally regulated by the state. "Louisiana has a cemetery board authority. And it would be inspected and records would be kept and that sort of thing," added Shehee.

Shehee says she's very grateful to the good Samaritans who dedicated so much time and energy this week to clean-up the property. "I think that is wonderful what they are doing. And certainly we are now going to play our part in helping the upkeep of that cemetery."

Margaret Shehee says Rose-Neath's upkeep of that cemetery will begin next week. In fact, Shehee says Rose-Neath has always cared about the communities in which they serve and they welcome this opportunity.

Copyright 2014 KSLA. All rights reserved.

 

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