St. Louis Cemetery #1

On Monday I got to tour the oldest (1789) cemetery in New Orleans. I met my tour guide just outside of Louis Armstrong Park. I had arrived a little early, so I assumed others would be on their way. As I shook hands with my tour guide Carlos, I asked him how many others would be in our group. He informed me that I was the only one on the tour! Photographers dream come true, haha!

In New Orleans, they bury their dead a little differently…Often referred to as ‘cities of the dead’, the raised tombs are because New Orleans water table is so high, you hit water when you dig only a few feet down.

So, how do these hold more coffins? These tombs actually act like ovens, making them reusable. According to a local ordinance, as long as the previously deceased family member has been dead for at least two years, the remains of that person can be moved to a specially made burial bag and placed at the side or back of the vault. The coffin is then destroyed, and the vault is now ready for a newly deceased family member.

The famous Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau is buried here. And Nicholas Cage has a tomb shaped like a pyramid ready and waiting as his final resting place…


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