Unless we are in one and it is dark when suddenly a thick menacing fog rolls in followed by music made for scary parts in movies. If that is the case, we run. We run so fast and so hard. And trust me, we are not people who run!
We have been to several cemeteries in our travels and New Orleans was no exception. But for us the cemeteries in New Orleans are way different that what we are use to growing up in west Texas or where we live now in south Texas. All our cemeteries have people buried underground and they are spaced out and in nice neat rows. Also, they aren't really much older than the early to mid 1800's.
Saint Louis Cemetery Number One is none of the things we were use to!
According to this sign...
Saint Louis Cemetery Number One is one of the oldest burial grounds in the Mississippi valley beginning in 1789 and is still in use TODAY.
Think about this, the cemetery isn't getting any bigger but more and more people keep getting buried there.
The sign goes on to say...that it is the custom in New Orleans to have multiple burials in the tombs and vaults. When space in a tomb is re-used the remains of previous burials are lowered into a receptacle below the ground level or placed in the back or side of the vault.
This place is old and there are many parts that show its age.
I think something escaped from this one...
So speaking of tombs and vaults, (I was sort of talking about them...) they are all above ground.
This has to do with the fact that New Orleans is below sea level and has the tendency to flood. With that being the case, if there were burials underground the tombs and caskets would be unearthed and we just can't have that. In addition to that, New Orleans was swampy and prime real estate would be on higher ground which is more suitable for the living than the dead.
There were several types of tombs and vaults.
These were called "oven vaults". All I can think of is pizza ovens and I don't want to associate pizza with cemeteries but the damage is done. Good thing there is no real affect on me.
There were some stacked vaults.
There were some very elaborate tombs.
There was even a tomb for Nicolas Cage. No he hasn't died. It is his future place of rest in this world. It just happens to be in the shape of a pyramid....National Treasure, anyone?
Cemeteries are filled with very ornate details. Some people put a lot of money into making their loved one's graves look nice. Of course, in New Orleans, that very well may be your grave eventually or your great-grandchildren's grave so I could see that.
Let me show you just some of the details, some taken care of and others not so much anymore.
Legend has it that Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen, is buried in Saint Louis Cemetery Number One. She doesn't have her own tomb but is believed to be buried in the Glapion family tomb. Louis Christophe Dominick Duminy de Glapion (now that's a name!) was her, for lack of a better word, husband. They were not married because by law interracial couples couldn't in that time and place.
Notice the three red x's on the tomb. That is from someone who has made a wish or request from Marie Laveau and they place the x's there to guarantee that it will happen for them. That is what I have read anyways. I don't know much about it and don't believe in it so I could be way off. Let me know (kindly) if I am.
People also leave gifts for the Voodoo Queen as you can see on the ground. I do have a closer picture of that.
One last thing I want to share with you from the Saint Louis Cemetery Number One is the following.
This is either the cheapest tomb in the place or just funny or both!
My next post about our trip to New Orleans will be about the few museums we went to while there.