City of The Dead

New Orleans’ cemeteries are not only a literal inventory of the city’s history, but also a symbolic representation of the city’s heritage. From their location to the individual burial methods these “cities of the dead” map the city, its unique geographic properties, economic progress and religious persuasions.

But, the intricately carved tombs, above-ground markers and embellishing artwork make them one of the city’s most requested tours.

The crown jewel of the city’s cemetery system is also its oldest. St. Louis Cemetery #1 was opened in 1789 by the Catholic Diocese, and contains the graves of some of the city’s most famous citizens (see pictures below) from Homer Plessy, to Dutch Morial to the so-called voodoo queen of New Orleans Marie Laveau.

The cemetery covers only one city block, but has been estimated to contain between 50,000 and 100,000 remains, and some of the most beautiful, and intriguing tombs. Here are a few photographs – with explanation when needed. To learn more or to plan a tour for yourself visit