Thursday, May 26, 2016

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1

One of my trip highlights of our New Orleans trip was finally getting to walk through the "cities of the dead" - morbid sounding, I know. But, only in the unique city of NOLA could cemeteries be such a major tourist attraction! Since the city is built on a swamp, 90% of all burials are above the ground....with such beautiful stone embellished tombs and elaborate sculptures that resemble a small village type feel. If it hadn't been so hot outside I could have spent hours walking through Lafayette...and also made time to stop by St Louis (most touristy, where Marie Laveau is buried) and also checked out Holt Cemetery (aka Pauper's) - one of the few below the ground graveyards for the poorest people who couldn't afford an above ground tomb and used wooden coffins/personally make the markers. But, maybe next trip I'll do that. Anyway. Here's a little history on fact - there is a metal tomb here (I unfortunately didn't find) that inspired Anne Rice when writing Interview with a Vampire....I couldn't help but hear quotes from that film as I walked through the quiet peaceful paths..."I'm going to give you the choice, I never had".... :)

"The planning of this cemetery began in 1832 in preparation for the creation of Lafayette City, which would later be known as the Garden District. It was laid out in a very uniformed manner with four quadrants.  There are Magnolia trees for shade, and area for funeral processions in a cross shape, and there were originally very fragrant flowers abundant between the tombs. The cemetery has been active since 1833 and still has burials occurring.  There are about 1,000 tombs and an estimated 7,000 people buried in Lafayette #1.  It is a city block in size.  The cemetery is also not racially or religiously segregated and contains over 26 nationalities. It is also the most filmed cemetery in New Orleans"


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