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LaPlace, Louisiana

Frenier Cemetery

All that remains of this small town is its mass grave and the enduring legend of the voodoo priestess who predicted its demise. 

In 1915, a faith healer living in the small town of Frenier, 25 miles west of New Orleans, predicted that she would take the town with her when she died. No one believed her until it was too late.

Her name was Julia Brown and she was a traiteuse in the early years of the 20th century. Locals would come to Julia for a cure for what ailed them, but when her remedies weren’t needed, people stayed away in fear. While Julia’s curatives were powerful, she was rumored to be a voodoo priestess.

Julia was also known to be an oracle. Unless they were coming to her for a remedy, townspeople mostly only saw Julia from her front porch, where she would sit in her rocking chair, play guitar, and sing. Several times she had correctly predicted disasters in surrounding towns. In her most ominous ditty, Julia sang, “One day I’m going to die and take the whole town with me.” 

Her premonition came true. When Julia died, and the entire town attended her funeral, perhaps out of guilt or in an attempt to curry favor with the voodoo priestess’ spirit. The ceremony took place on September 29th, the very day that the New Orleans Hurricane of 1915 struck. The Category 4 storm swept through Louisiana, flattening small towns in its path like Frenier. Without a proper weather prediction system, no one saw it coming. All of the townsfolk died except for two, who had left Frenier for the day.

The survivors erected a graveyard for Frenier’s deceased residents. They were all buried in a mass grave, and later given a fence and wooden grave markers. The swampland is believed to be haunted by the voodoo priestess Julia Brown, whose prediction, or perhaps curse, should have been heeded. Her grave is removed from the rest by about 100 yards, which is probably how she would have wanted it.

Know Before You Go

The graveyard is on private land and can only be accessed on a Cajun Pride swamp tour.

Contributed by
Gemfyre
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