NYU Black Renaissance Noire Winter 2014 - Page 28

26 Around the same time, the City created and the Church consecrated St. Louis Cemetery No. 2, even further removed from the city center, in 1823. St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 remained in operation, but the more ornate tombs of the Creoles and the Benevolent Societies were being constructed in St. Louis Cemetery No. 2. Further city development resulted in the shrinking of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, resulting in a site that is significantly smaller than its original size. For example, the pyramidal Varney monument, once located at the center of the site, now marks the entrance. By the late nineteenth century, the area surrounding the cemetery had become chiefly residential, with few undeveloped lots left available. In 1898, “Storyville” was created in the sixteen square blocks that included the cemetery, and was bounded by Iberville, North Robertson, St. Louis and Basin Streets. The “red light district” lasted until 1917, when the Navy ordered it closed. Significant changes started taking place to the area surrounding St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 in the mid-twentieth century. Construction began on the Municipal Auditorium in 1930, and the canal was filled in by 1938. What was left of Storyville was demolished to make way for the Iberville Housing Project in the 1940s. Neighborhood decline continued with the construction on Interstate 10. The city made several attempts to rehabilitate the area, including the creation of Louis Armstrong Park in 1976. St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 acquired a reputation as an extremely dangerous site, resulting in tomb owners, families, and locals staying away from the site. As a result, the site and tombs were neglected and became overgrown. m Untitled 8, 1986 Archival Ink Jet Print on Canson Platine Fiber Rag 14 x 14 inches ll Untitled 9, 2007 Archival Ink Jet Print on Canson Platine Fiber Rag 14 x 14 inches