Sunday, October 30, 2016

Clean-up Day ~ 29 October 2016

Yesterday dawned clear and relatively cool for New Orleans. There was a light breeze blowing, enough to keep most of the mosquitoes at bay in the cemetery. The mower man, the fellows who were to do the power washing and repainting of the tombs and the priest I'd invited to bless the cemetery at a rededication all were unable to participate due to funerals that required their presence. How ironic! The host of the "Dobards Only" Facebook group. Ahmad Dobard, brought his string trimmer, and Lloyd and I brought our neighbor Byron along.

Byron, it turns out, was a friend of Vin "Cuddy" Jackson, the only burial in the cemetery that we've not been able to confirm is somehow related to the Dobard family. Small world.

The four of us pitched in and made a difference. We trimmed, pulled weeds. picked up trash and hauled it away.  Lloyd and I were there earlier in the week to install some white crosses on the unmarked graves; we marked the location of the formerly "lost" graves as well.

The mowing and tomb cleaning will be taking place in the next few days. I'll post new photos of the cemetery when that work is completed. (Click on the photos to enlarge.)

Ahmad Dobard. The new copings can be seen in the background. The sinking old copings can also be seen.

The four graves behind the back row of tombs. 

Lloyd is preparing to do a rubbing on a headstone that we thought might have some usable information leading to the identification of the grave's inhabitant. It did not.

Weeds and grass had overgrown several graves.

Here you can see the results of the weeding in the foreground graves. (Side note: you can see the two definitions of "weeding" in play here. Byron, on the left, was of the rip-off-the tops school; Kathie, on the right, dug out the weeds by the roots. The grave on the left and the two behind it are in for a dose of Round-Up in the near future. Digging out the weeds by the roots was too much to accomplish in one morning. The two crosses bear the names of Charles and Clarence Bailey, two of the four burials we were able to name.

The orange markings delineating the area of the grave can be seen on Wilkie Salvant's grave, right front. The ground penetrating radar located the gravesite. Wilkie's son Michael, who we met at the cemetery one day, told us it is where his father is buried..
Here is another view of Wilkie Salvant's grave, with another, as yet unidentified grave behind it. I'm going to have to come back on a cloudy day to get better photos. The bright sun and shade made photography difficult.

These are the new granite markers for the formerly "lost" graves. They came all the way from California. We are pleased with how they turned out. At present they are lying flat on the new cement coping. Next month the cement man, Keith Espadron, will raise them up at an angle, so they will be easier to read, and mount them permanently.

We discovered Blanche's birth date after the stone was made. She was 18 years old when she died.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Work Continues on Dobard/Escande copings

A combination of rain and real life has delayed work on the copings for the Dobard and Escande graves, but this weekend's drier weather has permitted work to continue. Lloyd and I visited the cemetery on Saturday, September 24, while Keith Espalon and his men mixed and poured the cement. All of the water, as well as the sand, stones, and concrete have to be brought in, as there is no running water on site. Luckily, a relative of one of Keith's helpers lives nearby and provided water as needed.

The photo shows the weeds and grasses that have thrived in the hot, wet summer. Their removal will be part of the clean-up operation on October 29, 2016.

The new copings and stone will be a nice, clean addition to the cemetery.  Here Keith and his helpers are mixing more cement. The areas within the copings will be filled with clean, white stones, and the cement work will be painted white. Keith will paint with a primer when the cement has cured, followed by a coat of paint guaranteed to last a few years.

The openings in the foreground indicate the graves of Cesaire Dobard Dobard and Jeanne Lacroix Dobard. We believe the area between them contains the resting place of Baby Dobard, the still born son of Camille Dobard Woods. The larger area in back is the resting place of the three Escande family members, father Felix, mother Maya Dobard and their daughter Blanche.

We have ordered granite markers for the graves that will be installed on the cemented area at the head of each grave. The markers are 16" x 8". We have been notified that the markers are complete and should be delivered this week. This is one of them:

The installation must wait until the cement has had a chance to cure. There will be a brief dedication ceremony of the new markers during the clean-up day, October 29, 2016. Click here for Clean-up Day details.

Clean-up Day to be held Saturday, October 29, 2016

The following has been submitted to the Plaquemines Gazette for publication in their Save the Day calendar and a notice emailed to everyone on our Dobard Family email list.

Help preserve the heritage of Plaquemines Parish in the tradition of All Saints Day cemetery renewal. Volunteers welcome for Dobard Cemetery Clean-up Day Saturday, Oct. 29, 10 a.m., in Jesuit Bend, especially friends and relatives of Bailey, Dobard, Escande, King, Ricard, Salvant, Sanders, Wilson and relatives. Activities include cleaning and painting tombs, weeding graves, resetting a tombstone and some copings and trimming brush. A dedication of new grave markers will be held at noon. For information, contact Lloyd or Kathie Bennett at or (660) 202-2492 or check
 We are hoping for a good turnout that will give the cemetery a good cleaning and also offer an opportunity for family members to meet and greet one another.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Master Map as of July 2016

After the radar session and interaction with some cousins from Plaquemines Parish, we were able to identify more burials. The map below is not exactly to scale, but if you are on the site, it will be clear enough as to who's where. Following the map is the legend with details of the burials. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

The yellow designates above-ground tombs. The green indicates in-ground graves.

Now that many of the burials are identified, it's time to spruce up the cemetery. Lloyd and I have commissioned a cement worker to create cement and gravel coverings for five graves, those of Lloyd's great grandmother Cesaire Dobard Dobard, her daughter-in-law Jeanne Lecroix Dobard buried beside her, and the three Escandes - Felix Escande, his wife (and Cesaire's sister) Maya Dobard Escande and their daughter Blanche Escande. The work has begun. 

We hope these efforts will encourage other descendants to make improvements in their own ancestor's burial place.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Technology meets history

It has been three years since the last update. A few burials have taken place, but since the cousin who appointed himself king of the cemetery chooses not to speak to us, we're not sure who they are.

Today a technician from Ground Penetrating Radar Systems, Inc., scanned the area and identified about eight unmarked grave sites. The ground is damp, which was less than ideal, but Jeremy said he was able to get adequate readings. We will have a written report in about two weeks. Meanwhile, here are some photos taken during the procedure. The white flags indicate where a grave site was noted. (Click on the photo for a larger view.)

The radar is in the red box that rides in the white tub, which glides over the area being scanned and protects the radar from the rough terrain.

I took a couple of videos of the radar in action. Unfortunately, they exceed the size limit for posting here and I'm not savvy enough to be able to reduce the size. If you'd like to see them, say so in the comment section below. I will email them to you.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In-ground Graves G-07 to G-14

G-7 and G-8: Mitchell Ricard, Sr (23 Apr 1898-Aug 1970) and his wife, Rose Dobard Ricard (30 Sep 1900-Dec 1981). The red lines are an estimate of the location. Rose is a daughter of A. W. "Willie" Dobard. At least five of their eight children are buried in the Dobard Cemetery, all in vaults: Marie (11); Ovide (16); Dorothy (14); Mitchell Jr (5); and Dorian (6)
G-9, G-10 & G-11: Blanche Escande (??-6-Jun 1919); Marie :Maya" Dobard Escande (Mar 1870-15 Oct 1938); and Felix Escande (Sep 1862-20 Oct 1944). The arrow in this photo points to a concrete base that at one time held the sign below, indicating that three members of the Escande family are buried here. Based on the premise that most Christian burials position the graves in an E-W alignment, this is our best guess as to where they may be located. The plywood at the right of the photo is lying beside the 11/12 vault.
G-12: Unknown. This coping encloses an area larger than a single grave but smaller than a double.

This photo, taken 18 April 2012, shows vault 12 in the foreground; vault 11 (now atop this vault) had not yet been built. The copings for grave G-12 are seen beyond. In the background is the enormous live oak tree that was no doubt here when the cemetery was established.

Felix Escande was married to Marie "Maya Dobard (1870-1938). Their daughter Blanche is buried with them.

G-13: Lance Christopher Stevenson (29 Jun 1981-24 Sep 2006)

G-13: Lance Christopher Stevenson is the great grandson of Theresa Dobard (born 1907), a daughter of A.W. "Willie" Dobard (born 1865) 

G-14: Unknown. This grave is located behind the front row of vaults.  

G-14: Unknown
G-14 is located directly behind Vaults 5 & 6. It is assumed the grave itself is between the cross and the vaults in keeping with the Christian practice of burials with the head to the west and feet toward the east.

Monday, November 26, 2012

In Ground Graves: G-01 to G-06

Click on photos to enlarge.

In-ground graves are numbered G-01 through G-14, with the numbers running roughly from front to back and left to right. The first two photos show the general layout of the graves. G-14 is not seen in these photos; it is located behind the front row of vaults.

Graves G-01 and G-02 are located to the left (south) of the front row of vaults and about 15 feet behind them. Photographed 24 Nov 2012.
G-01: Unknown
G-02: Unknown 

A second double grave with a coping (G-03), lies directly behind G-01 & G-02. The next row back has three single graves with copings (G-04, G-05, and G-06) and two graves without copings but marked with crosses (G-07 and G-08). 

Graves G-07 through G-14 will be described in the next blog entry.

Charles Bailey (3 Aug 1925-8 Oct 1950) Son of Charles Bailey and Sedonia Dobard Bailey. This is a double grave, yet it has but one headstone. This same information is on a stone resting on G-06; that stone also lists his brother Clarence and their mother, Sedonia.  Charles and Clarence both died in 1950 and their mother in 1954. It is possible that both Charles and Clarence are in the double grave G-03 and their mother is in the single grave G-06.

G-03: The inscription reads
At Rest

Bro Charley

Bailey Jr
Born Aug
3 1925 Died
Oct 8 1950
The stone was difficult to photograph as the writing is fairly shallow and years of whitewashing have helped to obscure the indentations. This is a negative of the original photograph taken in 2004, used here because it is easier to read. The black edges and drips are really whitewash that has run down the face of the stone.

G-04: Unknown. This grave has a headstone with no engraving evident.
G-05: Unknown. No identification.
Sedonia Dobard Bailey (1 Apr 1900-26 Jun 1954) ? See below.

G-06: The stone is difficult to photograph but can be read on the spot. This stone includes Charles, identified in G-03.  Charles and Clarence died in 1950 and their mother in 1954. It is possible that both Charles and Clarence are in the double grave G-03 and their mother is in the single grave G-06. The headstone stone says:

Sister Sedonia Bailey

My Two Sons

Born April 1, 1900
Died June 26, 1954

Bro Clarence Bailey
Born October 8, 1930
Died October 20, 1953 age 23

Bro Charley Bailey Jr
Born August 3, 1925
Died October 8, 1950 age 25

The next four photos are overall shots of the original grave sites. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Grave G-14 is located behind Vaults 5 & 6.