Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Beauford's Eternal Home - Thiais Cemetery

The Parisian Cemetery of Thiais is located in the town of Thiais, which is 10.3 km (6.4 miles) south of Paris. It is the second largest cemetery in the Paris area, and is the most recently opened (1929). Easily reached by public transportation (metro, RER, bus), it has been Beauford’s resting place since 1979.


Avenue de l'Ouest
Thiais Cemetery
© Discover Paris!

The cemetery extends over 103.36 hectares (225.4 acres) and contains 130 divisions. Its entrance, created by architect Charles Halley, is described on the Paris.fr Web site as majestic. However, I find it to be heavy, rigid, and uninviting. Among the more well-known people buried there are the Austrian writer Joseph Roth, prince Serge Orloff (descendant of Catherine the Great of Russia), and Léon Sedov, son of Léon Trotsky.


Entry to Thiais Cemetery
© Discover Paris!

Thiais has a reputation for being a burial ground for the poor. There is an area called the Garden of Fraternity where persons who have few to no resources are buried. These “common terrains” contain individual, prefabricated graves in which persons may be buried for a single, non-renewable period of five years. Though generally used for poor or unidentified persons, anyone may be buried in this section of the cemetery – regardless of financial means – upon request. Thiais’ common terrains are located in Divisions 48-50 and 56-58.

Despite its reputation as a “poor man’s cemetery,” several divisions at Thiais contain elaborate graves.

Beauford’s grave is located in Division 86. Overgrown with weeds when I visited it in July 2009, it was being mown when I returned in September to pay the outstanding fees for Beauford’s concession. Beauford has a “temporary” concession, which is renewable every ten years.


Signpost for Division 86
© Discover Paris!

For a detailed article on the cemetery (in French), visit http://www.landrucimetieres.fr/spip/spip.php?article1858. Even if you cannot read French, go to the site to see numerous photos that will give you a good idea of how vast the cemetery is, and show the diverse faiths (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist) of the persons buried there. These photos also provide an excellent indication of what French grave sites look like.

Reminder:

Les Amis de Beauford Delaney is seeking to raise $8500 to cover the cost of the construction and installation of Beauford's tombstone, one year of maintenance of the gravesite, concession fees for the ten year period beginning in 2011, and miscellaneous expenses such as banking fees and postage. Our goal is to have raised this entire amount by 26 March 2010, the 31st anniversary of Beauford’s death.

Your contribution of $100 or 100€ to our fund will help us to place a fitting monument at Beauford’s grave. Please send your donation today.

To make a secure contribution online now, click on the "Donate" button in the right margin beneath the photo of Beauford's grave.

Checks (in US dollars) should be made payable to Les Amis de Beauford Delaney and sent to the following address today:

Monique Y. Wells
Les Amis de Beauford Delaney
11503 Sandhurst
Houston, TX 77048
U.S.A.

As president of Les Amis de Beauford Delaney, I would like to personally express my gratitude for your generosity and your support of this important cause! We will inform all contributors of our success once we have reached our goal.

With sincere thanks,
Monique Y. Wells
President, Les Amis de Beauford Delaney

P.S. If you are unable to contribute $100 or 100€, but would still like to support us, please consider donating $50, 50€, $25, or 25€ to our cause. If you would like to contribute more than $100 or 100€, please feel free to do so!

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