MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Imagine your loved one buried in a mass of tall weeds, over grown grass and total disarray.
It brings tears to Alice Waller’s eyes. She can no longer even find the spot where her grandmother is buried.
“Just to be able to come in, to be able to have a pathway to lay something on your mom’s grave, your grandma’s grave,” says Waller. “Oh. It is disheartening. It is beyond disheartening,” says Alice Waller.
It is what has become of the Hollywood Cemetery after the owners, who filed bankruptcy, walked away and Shelby County, which had been trying to help, now has stopped cutting the grass.
It’s clear no one has been keeping the property up so people can find graves.
Environmental Court even ordered Hollywood Cemetery cleaned up. For a while Shelby County inmates were doing it.
“They were cutting it. You could see it. People could walk in. I could literally walk over to my grandmother’s grave,” says Waller.
But judging by the massive overgrowth, that was a long time ago.
WREG contacted Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris’ office. They said the cleanup may have happened with the previous administration, but the current administration is not doing it and right now has no plans to clean up the cemetery.
They suggested we call the City of Memphis since the cemetery is within city limits. But city officials say cemeteries are not under the City purview.
We also reached out to Environment Court, which initially ruled for the cemetery to be cleaned up.
They referred us to Code Enforcement.
It’s not just the Hollywood Cemetery that needs attention. Mt. Carmel off Elvis Presley has been missing the attention too, and nearby Rose Hill Cemetery is just as bad.
There is no word on who is going to help. Families trying to remember those they love now are unable to forget how they are being treated.
“I am not sure where the current mayor’s philosophy is, I don’t know. But you would just think…the respect for people who have died. For people who have gone on and for people who want to come see it,” says Waller.