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Cemetery clean-up brings hundreds amidst controversy

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Posted: Nov 5, 2011 5:31 PM by Olivia LaBorde
Updated: Nov 5, 2011 5:31 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: gilbert, memorial, park, hundreds

Hundreds of folks came out to clean up Gilbert Memorial Park this morning.

The historically black cemetery has been under fire lately for being unkept and unlicensed. One community group plans to bring Baton Rouge landmark back on track.

Edith Brown buried her 18- year-old son at Gilbert Memorial Park 3 years ago. She says, "It wasn't like this three years ago.It was bad, but just kept getting worse as the years were coming."

And that's why Brown- and about 150 volunteers lead by together Baton Rouge showed up today.

Together baton rouge Member, Edgar Cage, explains, "People kept expressing concern that the cemetery has gone down. That the cemetery hasn't been kept up properly."

That's not the only complaint about the cemetery. Earlier this month, Louisiana Attorney General, Buddy Caldwell, announced he's seeking a court order to stop the current owner from operating the cemetery.

According to Caldwell, the current owner (or receiver as he's called) hasn't had a certificate to run the cemetery since 2003.

Despite Gilbert's Memorial Park being a historically black cemetery, the clean- up brought out all races.

Vicki Dauterive says, "The people buried here are just as my much my family even though I'm not African- American. And when we start working together like we really are one family; then things can really change for the better."

For now- the current operator can't bury anybody else at the cemetery. But Brown says today's cleanup has brought back some dignity to those already here.

She says, "My son is here along with everyone else's loved ones. And now they're resting in peace."

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