New Orleans: St. Louis Cemetery, No. 1

[All Saints’ Day in New Orleans – Harper’s, 1885. Source.]

It wouldn’t be a vacation without a visit to a historic cemetery — especially in New Orleans, where Gothic romance, crumbly old-world atmosphere, the floral aura of dime-store mystery and secrets half-shadowed by gas lamps are all part of the draw.

We took a tour of St. Louis No. 1, the oldest cemetery in New Orleans, just a block outside the French Quarter. We learned that the distinctive above-ground tombs, which create a crowded little marble and toppled-brick town, have as much to do with cultural traditions of French, Spanish and Caribbean settlers as they do with the swampy flood-prone ground.

We learned that in New Orleans, generations of families share the same tombs; when it’s time to bury someone new, the previous occupant is removed, the coffin disposed of in a respectable manner, and the bones replaced to a pit at the bottom of the vault.

And we met some new friends.

Like Marie Laveau.

Etienne de Bore.

Bernard de Marigny.

Homer Plessy.

And we took a lot of pictures. Here are a few good ones, on some fancy new photo gallery plug-in I’m taking for a spin today.

Please enjoy.

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#bernard de marigny#homer plessy#marie laveau#new orleans#st. louis cemetery#st. louis cemetery no. 1