Memorial Day at Chalmette National Cemetery

Rows of national cemetery headstones with an American flag in front of each
Every Memorial Day, volunteers and park staff put a flag at every one of the 14,000+ headstones and markers in Chalmette National Cemetery.
Memorial Day ceremony participants present a solemn salute
For decades, the Vietnam Veterans of VFW Post 3798 have presented a Memorial Day ceremony at Chalmette National Cemetery, remembering those who served.

Gulf of Mexico storm Alberto disrupted plans for Memorial Day 2018: the ceremony presented by the Vietnam Veterans of VFW Post 3798 was cancelled when the decision to close Chalmette Battlefield, the visitor center, and visitor services was made on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. The shutdown decision must be made early because the site's wastewater treatment system must be shut down whenever there is danger of extensive flooding, and flooding was predicted as one of Alberto's effects. When Alberto tracked away from Louisiana on Saturday afternoon, it was too late to put the wastewater treatment system back in operation in time for the ceremony to be re-scheduled; health regulations require working water systems when visitors are at the site.The volunteer project to remove the thousands of American flags put at Chalmette National Cemetery headstones for Memorial Day and prepare them for storage was officially cancelled for Tuesday, May 29, due to concerns about lingering effects from Alberto, but since there were no storm effects over the weekend, dedicated volunteers showed up on Tuesday morning to take care of flag removal and storage. Park staff thank everyone for their patience, their understanding, and their willingness to honor and remember the troops who are buried at Chalmette National Cemetery.

As a young visitor to the cemetery said, "These aren't just headstones. Every one of them is a person, and that's why we should remember them."

Chalmette National Cemetery is located at 8606 West St. Bernard Highway in Chalmette, just downriver from Chalmette Battlefield, site of the Battle of New Orleans in 1815 (follow the link for a map to the battlefield and national cemetery).

The entrance gates to Chalmette National Cemetery and Chalmette Battlefield are open 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Monday-Sunday. On federal holidays, gates are open 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., except for Memorial Day and Veterans Day, when gates are open 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. On Mardi Gras (Tuesday, February 13, in 2018), the battlefield is completely closed but the national cemetery is open 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

The visitor center at Chalmette Battlefield is open 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Monday-Sunday. The visitor center is closed on Mardi Gras (Tuesday, February 13, in 2018) and on federal holidays except for Memorial Day and Veterans Day, when it is open regular hours of 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Learn more about Memorial Day and how you can honor those who have served their country at the My Memorial Day website.

Image of volunteers in National World War Two Museum shirts at Chalmette National Cemetery
Staff and volunteers from The National WWII Museum partner with the park each year to put out flags at headstones in the national cemetery.
Image of volunteers preparing American flags for storage
Picking up more than 14,000 flags and preparing them for storage is a big job, but volunteers and park staff working together get the project done quickly.

Last updated: May 29, 2018

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