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Must-Visit Cemeteries In New Orleans

In a historic city such as New Orleans, it’s always fun to visit some cemeteries – especially if they might be haunted!

Must-Visit Cemeteries In New Orleans

Saint Louis Cemetery #1

This is the oldest of the Roman-Catholic cemeteries in New Orleans, and as such, has some very notable graves on the grounds.  Due to issues with vandalism, you now need to sign up for a tour to view the graves, rather than simply walking through, but it’s well worth it.  See the memorial to Homer Plessy, plantiff in Plessy v. Ferguson, or the future tomb of Nicholas Cage, actor and owner of the giant pyramid mausoleum.  However, probably the most notable resident is Marie Laveau, voodoo queen, who still haunts the city of New Orleans.

Cypress Grove Cemetery

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The Cypress Grove Cemetery is the first cemetery that honored volunteer firefighters in New Orleans.  Other inhabitants include political figures and children who died young.  Created in 1840, it features Egyptian-inspired elements in the architecture and provides a stunning example of above-ground memorials.  The age of the cemetery provides an interesting peek into how life has changed over the past century.

Layfayette Cemetery #1

One of the spookier cemeteries on the list, Lafayette Cemetery is known not only for its famous inhabitants – including Judge Ferguson from Plessy v. Ferguson and General Harry T. Hays – but also for its role in pop culture.  The graveyard inspired numerous elements of Anne Rice’s books, Lestat’s tomb in the movie Interview With A Vampire, and has been the site of numerous music videos and movies.

Hebrew Rest Cemetery

Very few cemeteries in New Orleans feature in-ground graves due to flooding concerns, but Hebrew Rest is located on one of the highest points in town specifically to fulfill the Jewish requirement of being interred in the earth.  While Hebrew cemeteries tend to be simple affairs, in New Orleans, nothing is simple or plain.  You’ll see beautiful tombstones, stunning statues, and more as you walk through.

Charity Hospital Cemetery

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Charity Hospital Cemetery is a little different.  You won’t find the graves of famous people here.  Instead, everyone buried here was never identified or didn’t matter to society at large.  Connected to a low-income hospital, the people located here are forgotten or too poor to afford burial in one of the “better” cemeteries.  As cremation rose in popularity, burials at Charity Hospital Cemetery decreased – until Hurricane Katrina.  Unclaimed victims of the storm have a memorial at the cemetery.  It’s very moving to sit in the cemetery, thinking of how many people are ignored simply because they lack money or connections.

Wander the cemeteries and explore some of New Orleans’ history, or if you want a guide, consider signing up for one of the ghost tours offered in the area.

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