Rotten Bayou Cemetery – Diamondhead Mississippi

If good fences make good neighbors then Rotten Bayou is a very neighborly cemetery, indeed.

rotten bayou cemetery signI’ve never liked the feeling of being fenced in.
However, I do like the coziness that fences provide.
The Poet Robert Frost oft remarked that “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors.”

Evidently, this sentiment holds true even after death.

It’s an interesting phenominon the way in which cemeteries encourage the use of fences.

Fences can be implied by features as simple as low curbing around family plots and individual gravesites.
In some southern cemeteries, particularly in the Ozarks and Appalachia, this curbing is taken to an extreme level forming 24″ tall concrete fences.

Wood is regularly used in dryer climates. But, where the air is humid, decay degrades wooden fences rather quickly over time.

Fences made of wrought iron have been used in cemeteries for generations.

And lava, lava in volcanic island cemeteries
seemingly lasts forever.

Of all of the types of fences I’ve witnessed, one of the most interesting uses of fences is in a cemetery I recently visited in Diamondhead, Mississippi.

This is Rotten Bayou Cemetery. Being near Bay St. Louis on the Gulf Coast, its substrate is mostly granular sand. The cemetery has a long-held

Chain Link Fence in Rotten Bayou Cemetery

tradition that burial plots are free-of-charge as long as individual gravesites are clearly marked off.

This provision has lead many families to use chain link fencing as demarkation of their loved-ones’ gravesites.

Chain link as far as the eye can see.

If good fences make good neighbors then Rotten Bayou is a very neighborly cemetery, indeed.

Link to the YouTube video of Rotten Bayou Cemetery

St. Paul Cemetery – Pass Christian Mississippi

St. Paul Cemetery

In the gravestone world, there are taphophiles who study all sorts of grave markers. There are those who study Woodman of the World markers and there are those who study zinc (White Bronze) markers.

Zincs and W.O.W.s are intriguing and interesting to study. However, you don’t often see the two design strategies combined as one. Zinc W.O.W.s certainly do exist but rarely in such fine condition as this marker I found in a small cemetery tucked, unceremoniously, across a set of railroad tracks in a small southern Mississippi town.

The cemetery was bordered, on one side, by a marshy drainage canal about a half mile from a quaint white painted church. Two things were on my mind as I hopped out of my van. 1) How beautiful (and lucky) that I’m here at noon as the church bells are pealing the noon-time hour. 2) I better keep an eye on that drainage canal because there could legitimately be an alligator hiding beneath the water’s murky surface.

I strolled the cemetery grounds cautiously. After I noticed this Zinc W.O.W., all thoughts of man-eating aquatic reptiles vanished from my mind.

What a great marker in this small, southern cemetery.

St. Paul Cemetery

Below are a few more pictures from St. Paul Cemetery in Pass Christian, Mississippi.
Before posting this article, I looked on Google Earth street view. According to the pictures posted there, the cemetery sign, as seen in my picture, has been removed. If anyone in the area is reading this blog post, please let me know if the sign has, in fact, been removed. Also, I’d like to know the reason for the removal and the date on which it was removed. Thank you.
St. Paul Cemetery Grave Crypt
This cemetery grave crypt is situated beneath a tree providing ample shade.

St. Paul Cemetery grounds

St. Paul’s is a small cemetery with quite a few interesting gravestones. It is definitely worth the trip for anyone interested in Woodman of the World markers or anyone who loves studying Zinc grave markers.



Chinese Cemetery & Live Oak Cemetery – Greenville Mississippi

Chinese Cemetery and Live Oak Cemetery, Greenville Mississippi

Chinese Cemetery, Greenville Mississippi
Chinese Cemetery, Greenville Misssissippi

I am often intrigued by the differences between well maintained cemeteries and those that have fallen into disrepair. What factors contribute to one cemetery being neatly maintained versus another, in essentially the same location, being allowed to become over grown and strewn with litter?

While visiting Chinese Cemetery and Live Oak Cemetery in Greenville, MS I found these two adjacent cemeteries portrayed very different levels of maintenance. Both cemeteries where gated and fenced although Live Oak Cemetery had an open design that allowed for visitors 24 hours per day while the Chinese Cemetery’s gates were locked after official visiting hours and did not allow for visitors during the nighttime hours.

Chinese Cemetery displayed a distinct ethnic pride and all persons interred within the cemetery were of apparently similar ethnic heritage. Live Oak Cemetery did not appear to have a cultural reference other than to reflect the community, at large, surrounding it. While the community appeared to be socioeconomically depressed I do not find in my cemetery research, that socioeconomic status, by itself, directly correlates to the general upkeep of a cemetery. I have visited many well-kept cemeteries in many depressed neighborhoods.

Live Oak Cemetery, Greenville Mississippi
Live Oak Cemetery, Greenville Mississippi

Above and beyond willingness and ability to pay money to have entire cemeteries and individual gravesites maintained, community pride seems to be an important factor in general upkeep of a community cemetery as does a core group of concerned citizens who take it upon themselves to instill community pride in a well-kept cemetery. If I were to hypothisise, I would suppose that Chinese Cemetery is cared for by a close-knit community of friends and family members who have a continuing desire to honor the interred.

Conversely, Live Oak Cemetery might have recently lost their core group of close-knit members of the community who, in years past, took great pride in properly maintaining their family’s plots. Without an emphasis for the need of community involvement, a cemetery such as Live Oak Cemetery can quickly become overgrown and derelict.

With a small amount of community involvement, Live Oak Cemetery can quickly be turned around and become as well cared for as Chinese Cemetery in Greenville, Mississippi.

Nearby: Tamale Shop

Helm Cemetery – Shaw Mississippi

Helm Cemetery – Shaw Mississippi

Helm Cemetery - Shaw Mississippi
Helm Cemetery

Helm Cemetery – Shaw Mississippi. If spring warming had caused crop growth to be a few inches higher we would have never seen the cemetery on the horizon. We were driving down Highway 61 on a late April day and I dare say if our trip had been delayed until May we would have completely missed Helm Cemetery.

Like so many cemeteries we pass along the roadside, this Cemetery hides engulfed in a farmer’s field. It is appropriate though since many of these cemeteries are populated with farmers and sharecroppers of old.

We didn’t stay long. The muddy ground made for difficult foot navigation toward and through the cemetery.