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All Saints Day in New Orleans -- Decorating the Tombs in One of the City Cemeteries, an 1885 engraving

Saint Louis Cemetery is the name of three Roman Catholic cemeteries in New Orleans, Louisiana.

All of these graves are above ground vaults; most were constructed in the 18th century and 19th century.

Doug Keister, author/photographer of "Going Out in Style: The Architecture of Eternity" states that

The custom of above-ground burial in New Orleans is a mixture of folklore and fact.

[1]

The vaults are in fact more due to French and Spanish tradition than they are to water table problems.[2]

Cemeteries #1 and #2 are included on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.

Contents

Saint Louis #1

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
U.S. Historic District
Location: Bounded by Basin, St. Louis, Conti, and Treme Sts., New Orleans, Louisiana
Coordinates: 29°57′25″N 90°4′34″W / 29.95694°N 90.07611°W / 29.95694; -90.07611Coordinates: 29°57′25″N 90°4′34″W / 29.95694°N 90.07611°W / 29.95694; -90.07611
Built/Founded: 1789
Architect: Foy,Florville; Monsseaux,P.H.
Architectural style(s): Neo-Classical
Governing body: Private
Added to NRHP: July 30, 1975
NRHP Reference#: 75000855[3]
Saint Louis Cemetery #1 with newly renovated vaults

St. Louis Cemetery #1 is the oldest and most famous. It was opened in 1789, replacing the city's older St. Peter Cemetery (no longer in existence) as the main burial ground when the city was redesigned after a fire in 1788.

It is 8 blocks from the Mississippi River, on the north side of Basin Street, one block beyond the inland border of the French Quarter. It borders the Iberville housing project that was built over what was formerly Storyville. It has been in continuous use since its foundation. The nonprofit group Save Our Cemeteries and various commercial businesses offer tours for a fee.

Famous New Orleanians buried in St. Louis #1 include Etienne de Boré - wealthy pioneer of the sugar industry and the first mayor of New Orleans, Homer Plessy - the plaintiff from the landmark 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision on civil rights, and Ernest N. "Dutch" Morial - the first African-American Mayor of New Orleans.

The renown Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau is believed to be interred in the Glapion family crypt. Other notable New Orleanians here include Bernard de Marigny - the French-Creole playboy who brought the game of craps to the United States, Barthelemy Lafon - the architect and surveyor who allegedly became one of Jean Lafitte's pirates, and Paul Morphy, one of the earliest world champions of chess. Delphine LaLaurie is also believed to lay in rest here.

The cemetery spans just one square block, but is the resting place of over 100,000 dead.[4]

Saint Louis #2

St. Louis Cemetery No. 2
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Location: Bounded by Claiborne, Robertson, St. Louis, and Iberville St., New Orleans, Louisiana
Coordinates: 29°57′38″N 90°4′32″W / 29.96056°N 90.07556°W / 29.96056; -90.07556Coordinates: 29°57′38″N 90°4′32″W / 29.96056°N 90.07556°W / 29.96056; -90.07556
Built/Founded: 1823
Architect: Multiple
Architectural style(s): Greek Revival, Exotic Revival, Gothic Revival
Governing body: Private
Added to NRHP: July 30, 1975
NRHP Reference#: 75000856[3]

St. Louis #2 is located some 3 blocks back from St. Louis #1, bordering Claiborne Avenue. It was consecrated in 1823. A number of notable jazz and rhythm & blues musicians are buried here, including Danny Barker and Ernie K. Doe. Also entombed here is Dominique You, a notorious pirate who assisted in the defense of the city against the British in the Battle of New Orleans. Andre Cailloux, African-American hero of the American Civil War is also buried here.

The cemetery received minor flooding during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and its tombs seemed virtually untouched by the storm when the water went down, aside from the brownish waterline visible on all structures that were flooded.

There are also many notable citizens of 19th and 20th century New Orleans laid to rest here. For example the tomb of Blessed Mother Henriette DeLille, who is a candidate for sainthood by the Catholic church, among others.

It was listed in National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

Politicians interred or entombed here:

  • Pierre Soulé (1801-1870) — of New Orleans, Orleans Parish, La. Born in France, August 28, 1801. Member of Louisiana state senate, 1845; U.S. Senator from Louisiana, 1847, 1849-53; U.S. Minister to Spain, 1853-55; general in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Died in New Orleans, Orleans Parish, La., March 26, 1870.
  • Charles Genois (c.1793-1866) — of New Orleans, Orleans Parish, La. Whig Mayor of New Orleans, La., 1838-40. Died August 30, 1866.
  • Robert Brown Elliott (1842-1884) — also known as R. B. Elliott — of South Carolina. Born in Massachusetts, 1842. Republican. Delegate to Republican National Convention from South Carolina, 1868 (alternate), 1880; member of South Carolina state legislature; U.S. Representative from South Carolina 3rd District, 1871-75. Black. Died in 1884.
  • Paul Capdevielle (1844-1922) — of New Orleans, Orleans Parish, La. Born in New Orleans, Orleans Parish, La., 1844. Mayor of New Orleans, La., 1900-04. Died in Bay St. Louis, Hancock County, Miss., 1922.
  • Carleton Hunt (1836-1921) — of Louisiana. Born in New Orleans, Orleans Parish, La., January 1, 1836. Nephew of Theodore Gaillard Hunt. Democrat. Served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War; U.S. Representative from Louisiana 1st District, 1883-85. Died August 14, 1921.
  • Ignacy Szymański (1806-1874) Ignatius Szymanski was a Polish and American soldier. Born in New Orleans. He served in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He was appointed to colonel of Chalmette Regiment, mainly made of Scandinavian immigrants from the Louisiana State Militia.
  • Dominique You: Privateer.

Saint Louis #3

St. Louis #3 is located some 2 miles (3.2 km) back from the French Quarter, some 30 blocks from the Mississippi, fronting Esplanade Avenue near Bayou St. John. It opened in 1854. The crypts on average are more elaborate than at the other St. Louis cemeteries, including a number of fine 19th century marble tombs. Those entombed include ragtime composer Paul Sarebresole and photographer E. J. Bellocq.

St. Louis #3 also includes a Greek Orthodox section. The cemetery was heavily flooded during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but its tombs escaped relatively unscathed. There was some plaster damage from debris.

References

  1. ^ http://www.experienceneworleans.com/deadcity1.html
  2. ^ http://www.tripsmarter.com/neworleans/archives/cemeteries.htm
  3. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. http://www.nr.nps.gov/.  
  4. ^ "Tour the Historic New Orleans Cemeteries". http://www.saveourcemeteries.org/tours/main.htm. Retrieved 2006-02-17.  

See also

External links

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