BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Despite the dreary skies overshadowing St. Joseph's Cemetery, the group that gathered there did not come to mourn. They came to celebrate and remember.
For the Catholic Church, All Saints Day and All Souls Day- the two days following Halloween- mark a time to honor the Saints and the examples they set. It's also a time to remember loved ones who have passed by blessing the graves.
"It pays honor to those who have gone before us in faith. Everyone, I suppose, whatever their religious background remembers with fondness those who have made their lives today possible- our forebears if you will. We honor them by honoring their resting place," explained Father Paul Counce, pastor at St. Joseph's Cathedral.
Remembering is not hard to do while on the grounds of the cemetery. Located on Main Street, it is one of the oldest in the city. The Catholic cemetery was established in 1825 after the Spanish Cemetery, originally located behind St. Joseph's Cathedral, grew too large. According to the cemetery's caretaker, Chip Landry, the church even traded its portion of North Street to have the city help move some of the bodies.
"There's still a question about whether the bodies were actually moved or not. I tell people, think of that as you're driving down that one block of north street," said Landry.
Landry describes St. Joseph's Cemetery as a picture of early Baton Rouge. It is the resting place of artist Adrian Presac, 19th century soldier Col. Philip Hickey, at least three East Baton Rouge sheriffs, and countless other families. Landry says honoring that history is important for the future. Counce says it's also important for the soul.
"By bringing the idea of faith into it, we also are remembering that we're still united with them spiritually," said Counce.