Chevra Thilim Cemetery (Gates of Prayer) stands at 4824 Canal Street, near City Park Avenue.
Gates of Prayer Cemetery, also known as Chevra Thilim
1999 image of the “Jewish Cemetery” at 4824 Canal Street. The building in the background is the Botinelli Building. The spires on top originally stood on top of the old Temple Sinai building on Carondelet Street. In 1977, the congregation decided to move uptown, they demolished their synagogue. Theodore Botinelli built an office/apartment building behind his family’s home. He salvaged the spires and put them on top of his new building.
Botinelli’s building overlooks the Jewish Cemetery, which was founded in 1858. Gates of Prayer has a detailed history of the cemetery, which has a fascinating story:
The Gates of Prayer cemetery at 4824 Canal Street has been called many names since it was founded in 1858 . It’s been called many names, in part because it has never been a single cemetery. Instead, it has been owned by and used by five different local congregations/organizations who have buried their members there over its lengthy history. Today, the cemetery is owned by Congregation Gates of Prayer, Chevra Thilim Cemetery Corporation, and Congregation Beth Israel.
So, as you walk up Canal Street from, say, St. Dominic Church at S. St. Patrick Street, you first encounter the old McMahon Funeral Home, 4800 Canal Street (cor S. Bernadotte). That building is now “The Mortuary,” a haunted house.
Theodore Botinelli’s father was an Italian-born artist and sculptor. The family lived in a house on St. Anthony Street, between the Jewish Cemetery and St. Patrick Number One. His mother opened a flower shop on the corner. Botinelli acquired more property on St. Anthony Street. He eventually built a three-story building at the end of the dead-end street. With the distinctive spires installed on top, people took notice. Theodore pitched the City Council to change the name of that dead-end block of St. Anthony to Botinelli Place.
This photo, dated 1999, is from the Louisiana Film Commission collection at the State Library of Louisiana. The photographer is unidentified.