New Orleans is famous for their unique funerals and cemeteries. On our recent trip we decided we wanted to go on a tour of the cemeteries.
We used Spirit Tours, but there are a bunch of different tours available. The tour was only $25. You MUST take a tour of the cemetery. You can no longer enter the cemeteries without a tour guide.
Our tour started out in the French Quarter. Our guide walked us around and explained the history of the city.
He showed us some old houses where movies have been filmed.
It was a really nice day to be walking around New Orleans.
Because of New Orleans high water table, the bodies need to be buried above ground. Before, when they were below ground, the water would rise and they would float around the city.
We visited one of the more famous cemeteries, Cemetery #1, near the French Quarter.
Most of the crypts are by family. A lot of family members can be buried in each crypt, but not all at once.
Even the crypts, which are very heavy, are slowly sinking into the ground.
A lot of the crypts are very old and in disrepair. The church doesn’t take them away from any families, but unless someone pays them to upkeep them they can fall apart.
The reason you have to take guided tours through the cemeteries now is because there has been a lot of vandalism and theft. It’s pretty sad that people would destroy such historic works or art or someone’s tomb.
Sometimes tombs can be bought by families. This will be the final resting place of Nicholas Cage (yes the actor). He built this pyramid tomb and (without permission) fixed up the tombs around it.
The whole place was a mixture of old and new. One crypt could be crumbling and falling apart and the one next to it looking brand new.
A lot of the larger tombs were built by societies. The members would then be put there when they died. Hundreds of bodies are in each of these crypts.
At the back of the cemetery is the Protestant section (it’s a Catholic cemetery). The graves are not as large and dramatic. Most have sunk underground and then the church digs them up and restores them.
The reason this cemetery is so famous is because the famous voodoo priestess Marie Laveau is buried there.
She made voodoo famous and a lot of people aren’t even sure if she is buried there. People leave crazy offerings at her tomb and write on it. They have been trying to keep it fixed up and get rid of offerings when people bring them.
The entire cemetery was very interesting. I am glad I was able to see this piece of history.
I highly recommend going on a tour if you are in New Orleans, but remember you have to take a guided tour. There are other cemeteries you can visit on other tours. There are hundreds of cemeteries all over New Orleans, but remember they are sacred burial grounds. Be respectful.