When Trenee Royal posted an invite on her Facebook page to the community to help clean up St. Rose’s long neglected cemetery, she didn’t expect the response she received.
“It went viral,” said an elated Royal. “I had people calling me. People jumped in and then came the call from the courthouse.”
Instead of the handful of people anticipated, nearly 30 of them arrived on May 11, she said. Then the St. Charles Parish government called to announce it was contributing garbage bags and bottles of water, and later parish workers arrived to collect the filled bags.
“This will improve old St. Rose,” said Trenee’s mother, Janice Royal, who has lived near the cemetery for years.
Restoring the cemetery is a move toward improving the area, Janice said. Her family donated the land that allowed people from Montz to St. Rose to have a place to bury their family members.
Over time, the cemetery, with an estimated 50 graves, became neglected, overgrown and an eyesore.
“There was nothing but drunks sitting on top of the graves,” Trenee said. “It was horrible. This is not the way a cemetery is supposed to look.”
So when the community came together for the clean up, Trenee said it was so appreciated. Among them was St. Charles Parish Councilwoman Marilyn Bellock, who showed up ready to work with tennis shoes.
Trenee said the project was started by her brother, who owns a lawn care business in St. Rose. He told her he was tired of seeing the graveyard in disrepair. He also pointed out it had become an eyesore that is en route to the planned Ed Reed Park.
“The more we do it, the more people will see they are sticking to this,” she said. “They’re not going to stop … they’re sticking to it.”
“There was nothing but drunks sitting on top of the graves. It was horrible.” — Trenee Royal
A potential donor may provide a fence for the cemetery, Home Depot will donate paint for the graves and the parish is providing more garbage bags and water – all for another cleanup planned in early June. A gazebo, left unfinished, may be completed, as well as trees possibly planted there.
It’s the first community effort for the area that Trenee can recall and one that she’s proud to say has gotten positive attention.
“You’ll see people who come across a bottle or can picking it up now,” she said. “Sunday morning, there must have been at least 10 new vases with flower arrangements there.”
She called her mother to tell her about the change, and Janice replied, “You see that? Plenty more will come up.”
- The St. Rose cemetery was founded in 1948.
- “Old St. Rose” includes historic Elkinsville.
- Residents are planning another clean up of the historic cemetery.