BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Saturday, August 5 is the anniversary of the Civil War battle that took place on the land two cemeteries now straddle on Florida Blvd. in Baton Rouge, including Magnolia, which had graves and tombstones at the time.
"We're not calling it today or tomorrow, we'll just wait on the weather to tell us whether we're doing it or not," said Carolyn Bennett, former director of Preserve Louisiana, who is now a Trustee of the Historic Magnolia Cemetery in Mid-City.
For 34 years, reenactors have gathered with flags and drums to commemorate August 5, 1862. "This year, Preserve Louisiana is greatly enhancing that experience," Bennett said proudly. "It's enriched this year. We have displays coming in. Myrna Bergeron is bringing her collection, Good Mourning, clothes from history, and then we have a group coming in period costumes and doing what it's like to do medical procedures on the battlefield."
But that's just the beginning. Preserve Louisiana says you'll see a grave site walk-through with signs for attendees to view the resting site of many prominent historical figures and Confederate soldiers. At one time, the brother-in-law of Abraham Lincoln was buried in the cemetery.
Chip Landry, Chairman of the Trustees of Historic Magnolia Cemetery, invited the Louisiana Department of Archaeology, period dress re-enactors, a special group that portrays the Federal Civil War Medical Corps, historian Robert Seale, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, historical map displays, and Myrna Bergeron, who will also share info on past practices revolving around death traditions. The event will feature a guest speaker, uniformed color guard, canon firings, wreath laying, musical performances, and more.
B. J. Lorio, a member of the Trustees, will serve as master of ceremonies. They emphasize how much fun it will be for all ages. Kids won't be bored with all the cannons, guns, music, and more. Bennett says it's meant to be "a memory of our time in 1863 in Baton Rouge." Saturday is the time of year when soldiers in the wool uniforms would be fighting for both sides. "And you will be in the heat, feeling what they were feeling and more reasonably dressed," Bennett giggles.
Trustees of Historic Magnolia Cemetery, an auxiliary of Preserve Louisiana, invite the public to attend the event from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Historic Magnolia Cemetery. Chairs, tents, and water will be provided and the setup will be in a shaded area. Historic Magnolia Cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is located between Florida and Main Streets. Cars may enter at the 19th St. gate.
The Trustees, BREC, and Rabenhorst Funeral Home are sponsors of this fun, educational event. Check with Preserve Louisiana Friday, maybe Saturday to see if rain will postpone plans.