There are many cemeteries in the city to visit: St. Louis I, St. Louis II, St. Louis III (notice a theme here?)and Layfayette which is in the Garden District,...these are the most popular ones for tourists. We had tried to visit Lafayette in the Garden District however it had closed at 3 p.m. (3 p.m.??? Crazy!) Instead we took a guided walking tour of St. Louis cemetery near the French Quarter. It was constructed in 1789 and most of the vaults were constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries. As in all the cemeteries there are "streets" on a grid which lgives them the name "Cities of the dead".
|The tomb of the infamous Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau...the xxx's have been put there as wishes..if your wish comes true you go back and circle them. As the guide says...none have circles....|
|Our tour guide|
|Close up of Marie Latreau's tomb|
|This pyramid monstrosity is the future "home" of Nicholas Cage. Yep, he had this built for his remains...really fits in doesn't it? Money talks I guess.|
One thing that tourists are constantly reminded of is NOT to visit these cemeteries alone - especially the St Louis cemetery we have just visited. Muggers can easily hide behind the tombs. I don't think it is as bad as it was however due to the destruction of the notorious Iberville housing project nearby. Still I personally would never walk through this cemetery on my own - I would only go in a group.
On this last trip we walked by the St Louis 3 cemetery near the end of the New Orleans half marathon which terminated in City Park. This cemetery was built in 1854 on the site of an old Leper colony. After the yellow fever outbreak in 1853 the city was in need of another cemetery. It was originally known as the Bayou Cemetery as it is near Bayou St. John. Even though I was flagging I did summon the strength to take two quick pictures as I staggered by.
|I changed this way to black and white for a more dramatic effect|
If you ever go to New Orleans (and you KNOW you should..) taking a tour of a local cemetery is a must.