Greenwood Cemetery was established by the Firemen’s Charitable & Benevolent Association in 1852. Its opening immediately relieved the overcrowding at Cypress Grove. In 1852, America was stricken with an epidemic of yellow-fever. New Orleans, America’s third largest city, was hit particularly hard. By 1853, over 8,000 in the city had expired from the disease. Greenwood’s one hundred and fifty acres provided an expanse to accommodate the pressing need at the time and for future generations.
When the Firemen’s Charitable & Benevolent Association broke ground to build Greenwood Cemetery, it broke with tradition and built the first above ground cemetery without walls. Sparse in architecture and landscaping, Greenwood was designed to maximize its acreage to make room for nearly 20,000 grave lots. Imposing memorials line the perimeter giving the cemetery a park atmosphere.
The first Civil War memorial to be erected in New Orleans is Greenwood’s Confederate Monument. A low mound marks the mass grave of six hundred Confederate soldiers whose remains were gathered through the efforts of the Ladies Benevolent Association of Louisiana. Dedicated in 1874, the masonry mausoleum is topped by a granite gallery enclosing an imposing marble pedestal. A statue of a Confederate infratryman resting on his rifle surmounts this pedestal.
The statuary is of a Cararra marble and was carved in Italy. The pedestal base has integral, carved busts of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Albert Sidney, Johnston and Leonidas Polk. Architect Benjamin M. Harrod was the designer; the memorial contractor was George Stroud.