Holt Cemetery, New Orleans’ still-active potter’s field, has been a subject of concern for many groups in recent years. Families with loved ones interred there have been worried about neglect and misuse of the cemetery, even as the city has periodically discussed closing the overcrowded space to new burials. At the same time, visitors have frequently been impressed with the variety of unique votive and grave-marking techniques visible in the space; evidence of these mourning practices and decorative traditions are also being lost. Dr. Gray will discuss the historical and cultural significance of Holt Cemetery, along with plans for the creation of a digital database that will balance both the needs of those with personal connections to Holt and the interests of others concerned about its long-term
Dr. Ryan Gray is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of New Orleans specializing in historical archaeology. Before receiving his doctorate from the University of Chicago, Dr. Gray was employed for 10 years doing private sector work in cultural resource management with a focus on urban sites. His work examines race, segregation, auto-construction, and urban development in the post-Emancipation South.