(St. Joseph Cemetery is located at 660 East 1st St. – or Hwy. 1 – heading South from downtown Thibodaux. The oaks are visible from East 1st. directly behind the mausoleum. You can turn into the parking lot on the side of the cemetery to get a closer view.)
These two oaks behind the mausoleum at St. Joseph Cemetery are all that remain of an alley of oaks that once stretched almost a quarter mile from the rear of the original St. Joseph Catholic Church building to the Calvary Grotto and Shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes.
The first church on this site was a wooden structure built in 1819 that was replaced by a brick building in 1848. The Calvary Grotto was built in 1883 by Pere Menard and can still be seen in the cemetery. In May of 1916, the brick church of 1848 was destroyed by fire and all that remained was the belfry and a portion of the façade. The alley of oaks survived the fire, but the trees were replaced over time as the need for gravesite space expanded. The new St. Joseph Church on Canal Street was constructed between 1920 and 1923 at a new location closer to downtown Thibodaux.
The Lafourche Live Oak Tour was created through the generous support of Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism. For more information on Lafourche Parish events and activities, visit their website at LACajunBayou.com.