City Council to sell property behind graveyard

DeRon Talley
The Protestant Cemetery

The city has been placed in between a rock and a hard spot – figuratively-in a land issue that involves the Donaldsonville Protestant Cemetery and surrounding neighbors on the seventh and eight blocks of Saint Patrick Street.

The Cemetery officials have buried up to four graves past their property line and on city property. The problem occurs because the neighbor of the cemetery blocks the back gate entrance to the cemetery with his personal vehicles.

Basically the city has two intruders on its property: the Cemetery and the neighbor.

The Cemetery officials, directed by Rev. David Joseph Sr. of Nazarene Baptist Church, suggests the city to just give the land to the Protestant Cemetery because it needs the space to bury the city's deceased.

"The city needs all of the property," Rev. Joseph Sr. said. "We are willing to do a little compromising, but if not we are prepared to make [the city] an offer."

"It's not something we are going to make money off of. It's for the need of the city."

Raymond Aucoin, District 2 City Councilman, said there are at least two parties interested in buying the land. He said the land will need to be evaluated and appraised.

District 4 City Councilman, Rev. Charles Brown, said that he doesn't see the how or why the other party interested in buying the land is being considered.

"You want to do it right either way it goes," Rev. Brown said. "The graveyard is certainly in desperate need of that particular piece of property."

He said as far as a price, the Protestant Cemetery may not be able to afford the whole thing.

"So you forget about the graveyard, which is the majority of the people in the community, and then you just sell it to one person. I don't think that's going to sit well."

"Every church in the community will be affected by it."

Brown said he just doesn't believe the Protestant Cemetery has thousands of dollars to be able to afford that land.

"They aren't in the business of making money."

The panel warned Rev. Brown that he might be "jumping the gun" because the value of the land is unknown right now.

Rev. Joseph said it's for the need of the people, and he said he think the need of the city's people is more important than what the other party needs it for.

Mayor Leroy Sullivan chimed in and said that no matter what the land will need to be subdivided because of the graves that have already been placed on it.

The panel assured Rev. Joseph that nobody is going to or plans dig up the graves that were placed on the city's property.

In the end, Aucoin said in his opinion that the land shouldn't be expensive in price simply due to the fact that the graves are there.