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The first thing that comes to mind when looking over the large grassy field is what a beautiful peaceful place it is.  If not for the few markers resting on a concrete slab at the front and the large white cross on the hill you would not know it was a cemetery.  Very few people know there is a cemetery on the grounds.  To be honest, very few people care.

arial view

If you look at the photo above closely you will be able to see a portion of the graves.  Some of those graves have been there for over a hundred years.  Why should we try to preserve the cemetery or mark the graves now? We try because at one point in time each one of those buried there was the whole world to someone else.  They were someone’s child, someone’s husband or wife, someone’s mom or dad, someone’s brother or sister.  Today there are grandchildren and great-grandchildren who never had what most of us take for granted.  They don’t know where their grandparent died or where they were buried.  Some don’t even know their name.

The people buried here did not lead an easy life.  They did not have someone to hold their hand as they died.  There was no one there to cry as they were lowered into the ground.  All those people, over 2469 of them, rest in graves with the one and only thing to mark their lives being a concrete square with a number on it.  A marker now buried beneath the ground.  They deserve better than that.  They deserve to have their lives recognized, even if it is only a marker with their name on it.

What would it take to make that happen?  Not very much at all if enough people care.  For some it would mean putting off buying the new X-Box game or the latest app.   For others it is a matter of getting angry.  Angry that there is a cemetery in our small town with over 2469 graves marked with numbers.  You can help by joining the committee, giving a donation or by simply sharing our story with others.

11 thoughts on “Home

  1. kivens1971 says:

    The first time I went to CLSH was about 12 years ago when my older children were young. I met Paul Benoit and was shown around the grounds. But nothing prepared me for the tears that would come from reading my great grandmother’s medical records.I sat in my car and cried. You see, I was the first and only person to ever visit her in over 75 years. Then I learn that she not only had no one who came to her funeral{ if you can call it that, she was wheel barreled to he hole }, but she had been placed in a wooden coffin, made by male patients and her gown by female patients. She had waited many years before, for someone, anyone to give her news of her 6 children. The nurses notes said she walked to hall every night crying for her “babies”. This was a strong woman, who had been abandoned and left to fade away. She has no grave stone, the hospital had seemed to of lost her patient number, the only way to identify her, so now she is just a spoken word. I feel the thickness of the air when I go there, to CLSH….so many souls there, never given the proper burial. I went back to CLSH this past weekend and I could have stayed for many more hours than I did. I hope the state realizes the importance and necessity of saving this place. It will be a shame if all is forgotten.

  2. I have just found that my 4th great aunt was a patient and probably died at the hospital. I do not know how to get her records. I want to find out about her and her life.

    • DSUpshaw says:

      Kim, use the contact page to send us your aunt’s name. We can tell you if she is buried there. That is all the information we can give out or have access to. For more you will have to contact Medical Records.

      This is the address and phone number you need. Hope you find the answers you are looking for..

      Central Louisiana State Hospital
      Medical Records Dept.
      P. O. Box 5031
      Pineville, LA 71361-5031
      318-484-6200
      (this is the Switchboard Operator # – just ask for Medical Records Dept.)

    • Denise Blake says:

      Kim, could you let us know how this goes? My great grandfather is buried there. I’d love to be able to see his medical records. I just don’t know how easy it would be to get them. Best of luck in your research.

  3. Linda says:

    I understand that Jackson State Hospital has the same situation in a cemetery full of unmarked graves. My great grandmother is buried there. She died in 1930 in that hospital after being sent there from New Orleans. She had epilepsy and tragically at that time doctors treated it as a mental illness. I do have her medical records from the hospital and I can tell you that anyone that died in any of these hopitals suffered greatly from the conditions. I wish CLSH Cemetery Preservation would take on this hospital as a cause. I would surely donate to it. I live in Michigan so I can’t take it on myself.

    • DSUpshaw says:

      Linda, I wish we could take it on. It is a huge job. Most people don’t put a cemetery on their list of charities. It is sad that there are so many state hospitals with these cemeteries.

  4. Ellen D. says:

    I pray each and everyone of you find your ancestors.Just let me say they finally adjusted some better than others. My grandfather came out after being there over25 yrs.He couldn’t adjust to the new world and requested to go back. He died there and we buried him elsewhere. He was one of the lucky ones who had family nearby. And I can honetly say my grandmother never divorced him but would go see him every week. Again she lived close by. I went a couple times with her but it would hit so much to see these people who looked so lost. Good luck and if you find them they will be happy.

  5. Christal Natrigo says:

    I just found out my great great Grandmother died and was buried there in 1925 her story is a truly sad one. She had 4 kids 2 just babies her husband beat her so she tried to kill herself. He had her put there and went off and forgot about her. She eventually died and no one came to claim her. This makes me so sad to think she was all alone and forgotten. No one was there for her. I never thought when I started this search that this is where she ended up with no name Just a number. Well she has a name its Aberdeen May Wilson and she endured so much she was a strong woman.

  6. My half brother Hershel Turner, was there sometime around the late 40’s and early 50’s. I was only about 10 to 14 years old then, and Hershel was I guess in his 30’s or early 40’s. I never knew why my Father took him to Pineville. Hershel was in the Air Force stationed at Barksdale Field in Shreveport, Louisiana, and was discharged for some reason, I never knew why. He was very talented played the guitar and piano. I know he is buried there in Pineville and I would like to know if it would be possible to get his medical records. My daughter has some problems and is in a home in Alexandra, Louisiana, and her mother, my ex wife, was told by my daughters doctor that what is wrong with her could be hereditary. Please let me know if this is possible. My son lives at Tioga and he wants to try and help his sister. Please let me hear from you.

    • DSUpshaw says:

      I am sorry but we are not a part of the hospital and don’t have access to medical records. You will have to contact them directly

      This is the address and phone number you need:

      Central Louisiana State Hospital
      Medical Records Dept.
      P. O. Box 5031
      Pineville, LA 71361-5031
      318-484-6200
      (this is the Switchboard Operator # – just ask for Medical Records Dept.)

      Good liuck. I hope you find the information you need.

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The Extra Mile Cemetery Fund

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
All donations will be deeply appreciated.

The Extra Mile is a 501(c)(3) Charitable Organizaton.

Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by IRS regulations.

Donations will be acknowledged with documentation for tax purposes.
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