Tuesday, July 24, 2012

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1

NEW ORLEANS -- One of the must-visit places in this city for ghosthunters or anyone interested in architecture in general or burial grounds in particular is certainly St. Louis Cemetery #1. This crumbling, above-ground graveyard has been in continuous use since the 18th century. It bears mentioning that the cemetery is only open until 3 p.m. on most days, and just noon on Sundays and holidays, so plan accordingly!

This is the main entrance to the cemetery. There are a number of other gates but this is the only one that appears to be open to the public.

"When New Orleans was founded in 1718 burials were made on the river bank. The first cemetery, in 1721, was on St. Peter Street. Burials were also made in the church. The first cemetery was demolished when this cemetery, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, was established by Spanish royal decree of August 14, 1789. As the city grew St. Louis No. 2 was established on Claiborne Avenue in 1823 and St. Louis No. 3 on Esplanade Avenue in 1854. New Orleans Archdiocesan Cemeteries 1983

Wow, check out that orb! Hah, I wish. This is what happens when you have sunshowers during an investigation ...

Fans of horror author H.P. Lovecraft will likely know exactly what I mean when I say this picture makes me think of the short story "Pickman's Model" ...

Wandering around in the maze of tombs that is St. Louis #1 can give the visitor an otherwordly feeling, and it is very easy to forget that the whole place is just the size of one city block.

This ornate group tomb holds the remains of members of an artillery company, which would likely have more-or-less served as a club for affluent gentleman (i.e., those able to afford cannons). The finials on the posts surrounding the tomb depict flaming bombs.

The tomb of "Voodoo Queen" Marie Laveau, to this day an object of veneration that is surrounded with votive offerings of all sorts. While we were there I say some visitors examining these but would not presume to do so myself ...

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