Friday, April 4, 2014

lafayette cemetery no.1, new orleans

part of any good walking tour of the garden district is lafayette cemetery no. 1, located across the street from the commander's palace, supposedly one of the best steakhouses in new orleans. it's not normally open on sundays, but i was lucky and the gates were open, so i took the opportunity to check it out. it seemed only appropriate that it started to rain as i did so.

lafayette cemetery no. 1, designated as a city burial site in 1833, is one of new orleans' oldest cemeteries. in the typical new orleans fashion, the graves are above ground and often communal. there are wall vaults that line the outside of the cemetery, as well as family tombs and society tombs for  volunteer fireman organizations, orphan homes, and religious and ethnic groups. unfortunately a lot of the cemetery is in disrepair, but a local organization, save our cemeteries, is working to preserve this cemetery as well as the 30 others like it throughout new orleans.

i'm a could spend days walking around cemeteries like lafayette cemetery no. 1. it's such an incredibly beautiful and thoughtful place. one where you can wonder about the lives and deaths of the people who are buried there. as you walk around, looking at the headstones and the grave markers, it's possible to learn a little bit about the people buried there, but there is still a lot of mystery there too. plus, with the rain falling down, and the cemetery all but deserted, it's so peaceful it allows one to be more reflective about their own life.





if the lafayette cemetery no. 1 is a bit too far out of the way of your french quarter vacation, i've heard st. louis cemetery no. 1 is supposed to be amazing as well. we tried to go there three times over the course of the weekend, always missing it by an hour or so, but it's just a short walk from the hubbub of bourbon street and highly recommended by most guide books of new orleans.

lafayette cemetery no. 1:
1400 washington avenue
open monday-friday 8am-230pm
saturday 8am-12pm
all proceeds go towards cemetery restoration

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