Why are Tombs in New Orleans Cemeteries Above Ground?
Many visitors to New Orleans are surprised to find that the cemeteries are such a huge tourist attraction and that the tombs are above ground. Once you understand a bit more of the topography of this wonderful city and learn that it is indeed built on a swamp, the above-ground tombs make a lot more sense!
Cities of the Dead
The most ornate and oldest cemeteries are known as the Cities of the Dead and tours and visits to these unique places are always a worthwhile option. We recommend a guided tour so that you don't miss any of the notable sculptures or notable artwork that decorates many of the tombs.
If you are spending the day in the French Quarter or Downtown a visit to the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is a definite "must do". Here, you can visit the final resting place of luminaries such as New Orleans' self-styled "Voodoo Queen" Marie Laveau. The walk over to historic Basin Street will also take you through Treme, one of the city's most interesting areas. Other cemeteries that are worth a visit or a tour are Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 located in the Uptown/Garden District area, and St. Patrick's Cemetery No. 1 which is in Lakefront/Lakeview.
Spirits of New Orleans
Whether or not you believe in spirits, a visit to New Orleans’ Cities of the Dead is highly recommended. And we have known plenty of non-believers who ask for voodoo blessings from the Queen just to be sure! A visit is also highly advised for art and architecture enthusiasts as well as history buffs. These old cemeteries are just one aspect of the Big Easy that make it such a fascinating place to visit!