In early 2004, I took a visit to see one of my closest friends in New Orleans. She had been living there for a few years and I always looked forward to my trips to visit her Down South, where we would feast on Southern food, visit cemeteries, wander around the Garden District, go on Swamp Tours, and just generally have a wild time of it. My favorite part though was always the days we would walk around Metairie Cemetery. There is nothing like Metairie where I grew up. The graves are all monuments to life. Beautiful marble, stained glass, shinning brass, and copper turning teal in the salt tinged humid air.
We had been to Metairie at least twice before on this trip, taking pictures and walking around, most importantly trying to get a good picture of my favorite Angel “The Angel of Grief.” But the doors to the Mausoleum that she is located, The Chapman H. Hyams Tomb had always been locked. But on that lucky day the doors were wide open, no lock, no chains on the doors at all. The statue was bathed in an incredible blue light, which was shining down on it from three different stain glass windows, one a beautiful floral tiffany window, the other two were simple blue abstract designs. That day it was like everything was meant to be, not only were the doors open, but the normally pale blue tinged light was a deep violet blue creating a dramatic visual effect. The statue of “The Angel of Grief” was carved out white marble, in Carara Italy by William Wetmore Story and then shipped to New Orleans Louisiana.
I dreamt a dream! What can it mean?
And that I was a maiden Queen
Guarded by an Angel mild:
Witless woe was ne’er beguiled!
And I wept both night and day,
And he wiped my tears away;
And I wept both day and night,
And hid from him my heart’s delight.
So he took his wings, and fled;
Then the morn blushed rosy red.
I dried my tears, and armed my fears
With ten thousand shields and spears.
Soon my Angel came again;
I was armed, he came in vain;
For the time of youth was fled,
And grey hairs were on my head.