Repairing cemetery wall involves gluing, moving bricks

Published 11:02 pm Thursday, January 29, 2015

Eugene Edwards works Thursday to repair the wall at Old Live Oak Cemetery.

Eugene Edwards works Thursday to repair the wall at Old Live Oak Cemetery.

By Tyra Jackson

The Selma Times-Journal

With about 40 years of brick masonry experience under his belt, Eugene Edwards is one of the individuals hired by the city of Selma to make repairs to the Old Live Oak Cemetery wall.

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Lately, Edwards has been a busy man. In 2014, cars went through the cemetery wall four times, resulting in several weeks of repair work.

The most recent accident happened in December, when a Selma Police Department officer’s car veered off the road while responding to a medical call.

Edwards started this week repairing the damage done last month. It’s not an easy task and takes about four days to finish.

“Whenever the city calls me to fix the wall, it’s no problem, but it’s like a puzzle because we have to put the pieces together,” Edwards said.

Mike Pettaway, superintendent of the Selma Cemetery Department, said the bricks are no longer produced, and they are almost impossible to find.

Some of the broken bricks are pasted together, while other stones are moved from a back wall at the cemetery.

Pettaway said he’s no longer surprised when he hears a car has gone through the wall given Dallas Avenue is one of Selma’s busiest streets. However, not every traffic accident that leads to the destruction of the wall bears the same monetary damages, Pettaway said.

“It depends on the structural damage, which varies,” Pettaway said. “Sometimes, it can cost about $2,000 or more to repair an area of the wall.”

If a private individual is responsible for the damages, his or her insurance company covers the cost.

Despite the cost and difficulty finding the bricks, Pettaway said it’s imperative the walls are reconstructed in order to preserve the cemetery’s appearance.

“It’s important for beautification purposes,” Pettaway said.