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Visit Metairie Cemetery

Why visit a cemetery at one of the liveliest cities in the country? The famed Metairie Cemetery is within city limits and used to be a horse racing track in the 1800s. During the race days, it was home to the Lexington-Lecomte Race of 1854, dubbed the “North against the South” showdown where even President Millard Fillmore had to attend. Racing stopped due to the Civil War, and the site turned into a Confederate Camp until 1862.

A local wealthy man, Charles T. Howard, was refused membership to the semi-revived Jockey Club after the war, likely because he was “new money” (having won the state lottery). He swore that he would turn the course into a cemetery, and surprisingly, he succeeded. Post-war, attempts were made to revive the track, but it went bankrupt. Howard is buried in the cemetery himself.

 

A Beautiful Ending

 

Metairie Cemetery is known not just for its unique backstory, but also for having the biggest marble tomb and statuary collection in the city. Most well-known is the Army of Tennessee, Louisiana Division marble monument featuring Confederate soldiers. Sculptor Alexander Doyle has two famous works on site.

 

You’ll also want to watch for the Egyptian pyramid monument, stained glass tombs, the Moriarty tomb that’s 60 feet tall, and the memorial of former Police Chief David Hennessy. One of the cemetery’s features, the mausoleum of restaurateur Ruth Fertel, cost up to $500,000 (in current currency).

 

 

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