Comment deadline for spillway cemeteries extended

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 14, 2012



LAPLACE – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently announced an extension of the deadline for residents and interested parties to offer comment on the proposed long-term management plan regarding preservation of the Kenner and Kugler cemeteries in the Bonnet Carre Spillway in St. Charles Parish.

A project description for preservation of the two historic cemeteries found on the corps’ website offers a new deadline of March 30 for comment submissions. The corps recently held a public hearing to discuss the plans and display possible renderings of memorial sites.

The two burial plots, located near the Bonnet Carre Spillway flood control structure along the Spillway Road and named for families who operated nearby plantations, date back to the 1800s and contain the remains of enslaved African-Americans, some of whom are Civil War veterans of the Union Army, and their close relatives.

Iron and wooden crosses once marked the cemeteries while they were still in use, but no such markers remain. According to the corps, the plots were unknowingly plowed over around 1929 to make way for the Bonnet Carre Spillway flood control structure.

The Kenner cemetery was first discovered in 1975 when an excavator uncovered human remains and fragments of gravestones from the site. According to research, as many as 150 people were buried in each of the cemeteries.

Both burial sites have earned a place on the National Register of Historic Places and corps officials are still seeking input from residents and relatives of those who are buried at the sites as work continues on plans to properly commemorate both cemeteries. Part of the plan includes adding signs near the sites and adding markers, trees and landscaping. The corps also would pave the roads leading to each cemetery and build a parking lot.

Conceptual images of the proposals, including interpretive panels to be placed at the sites, are available at the corps website for the project,

Those interested may also visit the St. Rose branch of the St. Charles Parish Library, 90 East Club Drive, St. Rose, the LaPlace branch of the St. John the Baptist Parish Library, 2920 U.S. Highway 51, LaPlace, the main branch of the New Orleans Public Library, 219 Loyola Ave., New Orleans, or the Ashé Cultural Arts Center, 1712 Oretha C. Haley Blvd., New Orleans.

Questions or comments about the project may be submitted through March 30 via email at, or phone, at 1-877-427-0345.

Submissions can also be mailed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers c/o Public Affairs, P.O. Box 60267 New Orleans, LA 70160-0267.