New Orleans Cemetery Tour, Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
One of the things I insisted on doing before we left New Orleans was a tour of Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, in the historic Garden District! The cemetery is the oldest and 3rd largest in the city, and while only a city block in size, it houses the remains of over 10,000 bodies! Famous for it’s large and ornate mausoleums, tours are offered daily by various tour companies, and the Save Our Cemeteries society offers one each morning at 10:30am, and a portion of your ticket price goes to the cemetery upkeep and restoration.
We caught the tour just as it was leaving the main gate on Washington Ave.. Purchasing tickets online is highly recommended, as tours will be cancelled if there are fewer than 3 guest. Tickets are $15/adult, and 12 and under are FREE.
The “City of the Dead” is a beautiful place, with over 1,100 family tombs, each which can house many bodies.
The cemetery is open daily, and is a huge tourist attraction. Don’t be surprised to see a large crowd on weekends.
One of several Fire Department vaults, the Jefferson Fire Company No. 22.
Many of the old mausoleums are in need of repair, and Save Our Cemeteries works to restore them.
Many of the burials date back to the early and mid 1800’s, and the most recent was in 2014.
Our guide explained that before bodies were embalmed, the cemeteries would smell very bad, and that is reason for the tradition of flowers at a funeral.
Some of the graves are underground, but have marble walls which keep out the water. They are then slightly raised and covered in gravel.
These unique and colorful family tombs definitely caught my eye, and remind you of the Caribbean influence in New Orleans.
If you love visiting the Voodoo Shops in the French Quarter, then consider touring the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, also, which is the reputed final resting place of Marie Laveau.
The walls surrounding the cemetery on Washington Ave. are comprised of Wall Vaults, with over 500 bodies interned here, although few are engraved.
If you can’t make one of the scheduled tours, I suggest clicking HERE to read more on the cemetery from FREE TOURS BY FOOT. Their site is very detailed, and offers plenty of information on different symbols used in the cemetery, as well. It’s a great resource to read beforehand, even if you plan to do a guided tour.
Just across the street is one of New Orleans’ famous restaurants, the Commander’s Palace. Owned by the Brennan family, whose restaurant on Royal St. opened in 1946, the Commander’s Palace has been open since 1880, and under the Brennan helm since 1974. Celebrity chefs Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse both began at the Commander’s Palace. Reservations are required.
Lafayette Cemetery may be best known in Anne Rice’s literary world of vampires and witches. Her former home at 1239 First Street served as the home of the Mayfair family, and I had to do a quick drive by!
Know Before You Go
The cemetery is open 7 days a week, from 7am – 3pm.
Things To Do in New Orleans
Magazine St. in the Garden District is known for their incredible shops and galleries, many in restored homes. Click HERE to read more.
Cascade Stables offers riding classes and camps, perfect for dropping off the kids for a day, leaving you free to New Orleans! Click HERE for more information!
In keeping that Sugar was White Gold in New Orleans, and how many of the fortunes of the town were acquired, the Rum House on Magazine in the Garden District is a fun favorite! In addition to a lengthy rum list, they also have a terrific brunch! Click HERE to visit their website.
While New Orleans may be known for their creole cooking, Shaya Israeli Cuisine, also on Magazine, was a nice departure from days of etouffee. Click HERE to visit their website.
For a good family breakfast, the Trolley Stop in New Orleans is worth a visit. It’s not going to be a meal you always remember, but the 24 hr diner serves breakfast all day, and has reasonable prices. Click HERE for more information.
Since I love Hotel Indigo, I have to recommend their hotel in the Garden District, which is located right on St. Charles St., on both the streetcar and the Mardi Gras Parade Route! Click HERE for more information!
If you crave staying in one of the more historical hotels in New Orleans, you can’t miss the Pontchartrain Hotel on St. Charles, recently remodeled. Click HERE for more information.
Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
1416-1498 Washington Ave., New Orleans
Click HERE to visit their website.
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