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  • Writer's pictureBrandi & Candace

Metro Bordeaux Cemetery

In honor of Halloween, we decided to look at the three cemeteries managed by Metro Nashville Parks.

From 1985 to 2006, this cemetery was used for the indigent, the poorest people in Nashville. The Nashville Social Services Indigent Burial and Cremation Services Program works to bury people in Nashville who desperately need it- either whose bodies go unclaimed, or are Nashville residents who live below the poverty line and do not have the assets or insurance to cover their burial expenses. This cemetery filled maximum capacity in 2006.

I myself, in studying my family's genealogy, have discovered cases of indigent burials in Nashville. My paternal grandparents experienced a stillbirth in 1954, and were living far below the poverty line. Their infant was buried in Woodlawn Memorial Park. Upon going to visit, the people at Woodlawn were able to find the original paperwork, and explained to me that there was a filled section in the cemetery filled with unmarked graves of infants from the 1940s and 1950s, at a price of $10 a grave, paid for by the city of Nashville. So we definitely know that the city of Nashville has subsidized private burial. On my maternal side, my grandmother's brother died in 1986, alone under a bridge on a winters' night. He was buried here in the Bordeaux Cemetery under the indigent burial program of the time.

This was emotionally very hard for me. We arrive just ten minute before a storm hit. The cemetery shares a border with a sewage water treatment plant so their air does not smell great. Nearby is a shooting range, so as you are hear, you will hear gunshots in the background. Then as you walk through and see the rows of "John Doe"s, "Jane Doe"s, and "Unnamed Infant"s, its overwhelming and sad. In looking to feel haunted for Halloween, this absolutely had an emotional pull that stayed with me for a few days.

Name: Metro Bordeaux Cemetery

Address: 1360 County Hospital Road, 37218

History: 2 out of 5

Walkability: 2 out of 5

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