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Somewhere between Rouen and Giverny, a small French countryside cemetery beckoned. Regrettably, there wasn’t time to take many photos. The one thing that impressed me was that all the flowers on the graves were ceramic. Not a plastic flower in the place.

Aruba

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This cemetery is on Aruba, a small island in the Caribbean discovered by Amerigo Vespucci in 1499 and now part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It’s dry and arid, as is obvious from this cemetery photographed in late December.

Photograph by Passante.

Coffin Maker

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A man is faced with his inevitable end as he walks by the shop of a coffin maker in Hong Kong.

Photograph by Passante.

A Noble Boy

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This 13 year-old boy, who shares a birthday with my father, is buried in the children’s section of Ivy Hill Cemetery in Alexandria, Virginia. “None knew him but to love him.”

Photographed by Passante.

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New Orleans’ legendary Marie Laveau was born in the late 18th century, perhaps the illegitimate daughter of the rich plantation owner Charles Laveaux and his half black, half Indian mistress. Marie became a high priestess of Voodoo, a religion whose beliefs were not — contrary to the way it is portrayed by Hollywood — incompatible with Roman Catholic Christianity. Marie was a frequent visitor to the sick in the prisons of New Orleans.

The city of New Orleans plays up the mystical side of Marie Laveau, the stories of her spells and charms, the accounts of her dancing with her large snake Zombi. Marie was said to possess perpetual youth, but the truth is that she had a daughter who closely resembled her and carried on the tradition by becoming a Voodoo high priestess after her mother had retired.

This is said to be the grave of Marie Laveau in St Louis Cemetery No. 1.

Words and image by Passante. Photographed in 1998.

Freedmen’s Cemetery

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Freedmen’s Cemetery was one of the first cemeteries established in Alexandria for African Americans. In the beginning, black Civil War soldiers and indigent freed persons were buried there. Find out more at the Freedmen’s Cemetery website.

Over time, the Freedmen’s Cemetery was largely forgotten. With development, it was ultimately paved over. This is what the site of the Freedmen’s Cemetery looks like today. It’s located under the parking lot of this gas station and an adjacent office building.

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The Friends of Freedmen’s Cemetery, a nonprofit organization, is working towards the restoration of this historic site. As part of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge construction, the Alexandria City Council recently voted to acquire the commercial properties as part of the Wilson Bridge mitigation. Thus, the site may in the future be restored and dedicated as a memorial park.

Scrabble Anyone?

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Ma = Mildred, and Pa = Adam. As for Peter and Mother, who knows. Two members of the family were apparently interested in Scrabble or crossword puzzles.

Words and image by Passante. Photographed in St. Louis No. 1 Cemetery, New Orleans, LA, in 1998.