Lafayette Cemetery No 1

Lafayette Cemetery No 1 information

New Orleans , USA
Washington Ave
at Prytania St
Opening hours
7am-2:30pm Mon-Fri, to noon Sat
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Shaded by groves of lush greenery, this cemetery exudes a strong sense of Southern subtropical gothic. Built in 1833, it is divided by two intersecting footpaths that form a cross. Look out for the crypts built by fraternal organizations such as the Jefferson Fire Company No 22, which took care of their members and their families in large shared tombs. Some of the wealthier family tombs were built of marble, with elaborate details, but most were constructed simply of inexpensive plastered brick.

You’ll notice many German and Irish names on the above-ground 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 in Mid-City had 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. The event coincided with the release of one of Rice’s novels.