Lafayette Cemetery No 1

Lafayette Cemetery No 1 information

New Orleans , USA
Washington Ave at Prytania St
Getting there
Bus: 11 or 12
Opening hours
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This necropolis was established in 1833 by the former City of Lafayette. Sitting as it does just across from Commander’s Palace and shaded by magnificent groves of lush greenery, the cemetery has a strong sense of Southern subtropical gothic about it. The layout is divided by two intersecting footpaths that form a cross. As you walk about, look out for the constructs built by fraternal organizations such as the Jefferson Fire Company No 22, which took care of their members and their families in large shared crypts. Some of the wealthier family tombs were built of marble, with elaborate detail rivaling the finest architecture in the district, but most tombs were constructed simply of inexpensive plastered brick. You’ll notice many German and Irish names on the aboveground graves, testifying that immigrants were devastated by 19th-century yellow-fever epidemics. Not far from the entrance is a tomb containing the remains of an entire family that died of yellow fever. The cemetery was filled to capacity within decades of its opening, and before the surrounding neighborhood reached its greatest affluence. By 1872, the prestigious Metairie Cemetery had already opened and its opulent grounds appealed to those with truly extravagant and flamboyant tastes. In July 1995, author Anne Rice staged her own funeral here. She hired a horse-drawn hearse and a brass band to play dirges, and wore an antique wedding dress as she laid down in a coffin. (It wasn’t pure frivolity – the event coincided with the release of one of Rice’s novels.)