Sacred ~ New Orleans Funerary Grounds by Elizabeth Huston
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I don’t know if it’s fair to review a book published on Lulu, but I paid my $32 (It would have been more, but I had a coupon), so I have an opinion on this one. I bought it for Huston’s lovely infrared photos, which are the highlight of the book. To be honest, though, I prefer the black-and-white ones to the ones in which the colors have been touched up. Perhaps it’s the reproduction, but the colors look tacky to me, detracting from the lovely scenery.
The minimal text could have benefited from both editing and proofreading. The introductory essay makes some excellent points about the fragility of graveyards, but winds in circles and dilutes its own authority. Later, a brief quote from Kahlil Gibran (whose connection to New Orleans isn’t clear to me) manages to contain two typos. In fact, I would have preferred if Huston had ditched the unnecessary epigrams from Shakespeare, the Buddha, and Christina Rossetti. Houston’s notes on the cemeteries and monuments — relegated to a list at the end of the book — are more interesting. One hopes she’ll make some changes in the third edition.
The prologue to the 2005 edition says that Huston is donating her profits from the book, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, to the Red Cross and Save Our Cemeteries, a New Orleans organization which restores the historic graveyards. That takes some of the sting out of paying for this book.
You can order it from Lulu…
…but it’s cheaper on Amazon: Sacred ~ New Orleans Funerary Grounds
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