Cypress Grove

Cypress Grove mound stands alone amidst the rich farmland of Concordia Parish.  On the day that Dr. Joe Saunders and I visited, the fields were fallow and the farm equipment silent.  The only movement was a couple of gentlemen who appeared to be in a discussion about the tractors, possibly a business transaction.

I approached to introduce myself and ask for permission to photograph the mounds.  I was given permission but one of them had a question for us.  He wanted to know, hey, if he owned land that had an ancient mound on it (he didn’t but was just theorizing) would anything happen to him if he bulldozed it to the ground?  That was his one question.  Joe replied honestly … no, as long as he owned the land and there were no burial remains on it, he could do whatever he wanted with the site.  I wanted to reply that he would burn in hell after suffering a tortuous death from a rare but excruciatingly painful disease but I remained silent.

The other man did tell us that there were burial remains on this mound and so it, thankfully, is protected.  He also said that during the flood of 1927 people had retreated to the top of the mound only to drown later, swept away by the raging waters of the Mississippi.

The Cypress Grove mound has one of the thickest middens of all the mounds Joe has studied suggesting the site was occupied for a long time.  (A midden is the accumulated debris from previous occupants.)  The mound was built in a single stage about AD 750 and is 115 feet in diameter at its base.  It is one of the best preserved conical mounds in northeast Louisiana.  And with the burial remains it holds inside, perhaps it will stay that way.

About Jenny Ellerbe

I am a photographer living, and working, in northeastern Louisiana.
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One Response to Cypress Grove

  1. Edd Fuller says:

    Thanks for sharing the progress of this project. I have been thinking a lot lately about place and memory, particularly how certain places have the power to make us “remember” things that we have never experienced directly. To me photography is all about memory and place. Look forward to seeing more of this work.

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