I am currently working on adding more pictures to this level of the site as I have a wealth of cemetery pictures taken on my '03 and '04 trips to New Orleans. Check back often as I will be adding more pages! Look to the bottom of the page for links to specific cemeteries as I add them!

The cemeteries of NOLA are in fact little cities....because New Orleans is below sea level, in ground burials are not possible. Instead, the deceased are interred in above ground vaults which form almost a maze of buildings topped with angels.

There are in fact several kinds of above ground burials. The traditional vault, the wall vault (where the dead are essentially buried in the wall of the cemetery), copings ( an above ground area of soil the was sectioned off, stepped tombs, and society tombs. In a given vault, an entire family of maybe 20-some people can be buried. Why? How? Due to the mediterranean climate, bodies decompose quickly, and burial in the vaults also becomes a form of natural cremation. It takes a "year and a day" for a body to break down....so when the next person in a family dies, the remains of the previously dead are shifted around to make room.

Views of vaults at Lafayette #1. This Cemetery is where Anne Rice used to play as a child. Part of Interview with a Vampire was filmed here(as well as other movies), vaults that were part of the MayFair Witches are here, and this cemetery was also used by Anne Rice to stage her own funeral.
More views of Lafayette #1. The picture at left is an example of a coping - an area of earth bordered by a wall. While the burial is technically above ground, it is also an in ground burial. This method allowed members of the Jewish population a proper internment. The broken column motif is frequent, while many at first think the column has been vandalized, it is actually a purposeful thing and symbolizes a life cut short. At right: An example of a society tomb. Organizations of people were often buried together - nuns, fireman, police, etc. This is the Jefferson Fire Company #22 Society tomb, flanked by some of the large tropical plants that grow all over the area.
Here is perhaps the only angel
in the entire cemetery. Lafayette
is very small overall, and has members of all social classes buried there. There is little if any sculpture, but it makes up for all that in character. Measures are currently being taken to
preserve it and others like
it from neglect and decay.



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