St. Augustine Catholic Church.
In the Treme.
Just a few hundred yards away from the church, in what is now Louis Armstrong Park, there is Congo Square. This was a place where slaves could congregate on Sunday. At the time, this was called back of town since it was located across Rampart Street from The French Quarter. The slaves would set up a market, sing, dance and play music.
That occurred during the French era. Things changed for the worse when control passed to The United States and Louisiana became a state.
Don’t worry. I’m going some place with this.
Back to St. Augustine Catholic Church.
Wait. Wait. There is no pun intended.
On one side of the church there is a rusting cross made of thick chains. Medieval metal shackles hang from the length of it. This is the Tomb of the Unknown Slave.
There is nobody buried beneath the tomb, but it represents the many remains found in unknown graves around the city when modern construction revealed them.
The cross was installed in 2014. In July 2015 Tootie Montana passed. In August 2015 Hurricane Katrina made landfall at Buras, Louisiana.
I’m writing this on All Souls Eve. I think my own long passed family and friends are in my head a little. The spirits of the city are swirling around too.
New Orleans will do that to you.