The historic Sweet Olive Cemetery in Baton Rouge has been vandalized.

Officially dating back to 1898, according to the property’s website, Sweet Olive Cemetery was the first African American cemetery to be incorporated into Baton Rouge.

Councilwoman Tara Wicker says when she saw the vandalism she was disturbed. 

“This is completely inexcusable, it’s disrespectful,” Wicker said. “This at one time was the only place African Americans could be buried.”

The eyesore of black and red spray paint is now the first thing anyone sees before entering the graveyard.

“It’s part of our history and culture, it’s not something that should ever be messed with or defaced,” Wicker said. 

Wicker says this affects her personally. Her great grandmother Syvlia Miles was buried at the Sweet Olive Cemetery in 1959.  She says knowing someone would commit a crime in an area where loved ones are supposed to be resting in peace is despicable.

“From a personal perspective for someone to do something like that is one of the meanest things that someone can do,” she said. “It’s uncalled for and we’re pleading that it stops.”

This isn’t the first time a crime has been committed at the Sweet Olive cemetery. Last year 22-year-old Caleb Davis was arrested after he destroyed headstones and stole remains from a grave. 

BRPD is investigating and the authorities “believe the person(s) responsible for this have committed similar acts like this in the same area.”

Wicker says she’s grateful the police are working on the case and asks the community to call crime stoppers if they know who did the vandalism.  

Photo from Brandon Prince

This is a developing story and updates will be provided as they become available.