E.E. Matt Pet Cemetery

On Private Property. St. Bernard, LA
Date of Burials: 1948 – 1984
Not Open to Public, Defunct

View from front, 1976. Photographer Horace Patterson for the Times Picayune

The E.E. Matt Pet Cemetery is abandoned and on private property. The pet cemetery was started by Grace Matt Thompson, an avid gardener and pet lover. The cemetery was open for burials from 1948 through about 1984 at the death or Dorothy Thompson (Grace’s daughter).

Pet burials have been recorded throughout history with Ancient Egyptians mummifying cats. Pet cemeteries were most popular in the late 1800’s. As with humans, cremation is rising in popularity for pets.

Grace Matt Thompson purchased the land, a cane field and the Toca Planation for $8,000 in the late 1930s. When she got the idea for the pet cemetery, she used the Times-Picayune ad-versorial section “Up and Down the Street” often. She started talk of the pet cemetery before it was open. The first mention seems to be August 3, 1946. The write-up gives no names but says “A local woman and her daughter will operate the venture” and ends with “Announcement of the opening will be made soon.”

Photo of Grace with her macaw Jerry. She had him for over 35 years and he was buried in the cemtery. From “Garden Book of Old New Orleans”

By March 6, 1954 Grace, over the phone, states she has 2 cats and 33 dogs buried on the property. In a 1965 ad, she claims, “a 9-year-old hen, a 30-year-old parrot, loads of monkeys and parakeets, 75 cats, and 800 dogs”. The 1965 numbers may have been inflated for marketing purposes.

Eros
Mouser The Best
Feb 28, 1973
Age 19

In its heyday, neighbors described the grounds as beautiful. Grace, the author of A Garden Book of Old New Orleans, had a green thumb and planted roses, azaleas, camellia, and a Davidia Invulcrata tree.

Dorothy Thompson, daughter of Grace Thompson, took over cemetery maintenance until her death.
Roses still grow on the property.
Part of the house was still standing around 2016. It has now fallen completely.