Northwest Louisiana's most important historical landmark and Shreveport's oldest cemetery, Oakland Cemetery, is undergoing restoration efforts that started on June 24, with an anticipated completion in October 2013. These efforts are part of an ongoing preservation of the region’s oldest garden cemetery, home to Shreveport’s history and commemorating its founders laid to rest in the Oakland Cemetery.
Originally called City Cemetery, Oakland Cemetery was established on March 30, 1847, when 10 acres located two blocks west of Common Street, on what was then the very edge of Shreveport, were acquired from Mary Bennett Cane and her father, Dr. Samuel Bennett. It was renamed Oakland Cemetery in 1905, and is now the city's oldest and arguably most important landmark.
Oakland Cemetery has played an integral role in previous historical and haunted group tours. Tour guide Steve Smith takes visitors on a 90-minute tour of Oakland Cemetery, where they learn about the lives of Shreveport’s residents and the history of the city.
Tours take place every Saturday until October 26.
The renovations to the cemetery include: a new main road through the center of the cemetery creating safer access that will protect the historical sites and landscaping; paved walkways over the original streets, which are now overgrown with grass; shoring up the fallen wall on Christian Street with cement blocks and iron fence matching the original one preserving the historical look; an upgraded security fence completely around the cemetery creating a safer and more secure environment; installation of a water system for current and future landscaping; pruning/removing damaged trees, as well as, planting new ones; and creating a handicapped parking area.
The Mission of the Oakland Cemetery Preservation Society is to restore and preserve Oakland Cemetery.