Houses of the Dead

I’ve always been fascinated by cemeteries, particularly the older cemeteries, the workmanship on the statues and “houses for the dead” is just incredible, just think that those pieces were hand carved. There are so many untold stories held in these places. The above-ground cemeteries in New Orleans are home to these “houses for the dead.” Read below for some history about St. Louis Cemetery #1.

Established in 1789, St. Louis No. 1 is the oldest cemetery in New Orleans, located on Basin Street, just one block from the French Quarter. The cemetery was built when New Orleans was under Spanish control, so the wall vault system was used. This system was also practical because New Orleans is under sea level and below-ground burials caused caskets to float. In 1788, the city was in serious need of burial space because of the fire that destroyed more than 80% of the city in one night. In addition, there was a flood, as well as the infamous yellow fever epidemic, that overcrowded the city’s first cemetery on St. Peter Street.

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6 thoughts on “Houses of the Dead

  1. I enjoy wandering around cemeteries and churches too, though I am not at all religious. I am fascinated by the architecture of church buildings and also the history. Gravestones can tell so many stories – plagues, wars etc. as well as being such peaceful places.

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    1. We sound a lot alike, Jude. I’m not religious either (though spiritual), but love the church architecture, too. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons I love Ireland so much, plenty of old churches and gravestones to explore. However, having been on a tour there, I didn’t get to roam any cemeteries. Next trip I will though.

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