Cities of the Dead
New Orleans, Louisiana
Cities of the Dead New Orleans Reviews
Dec 10, 2006
The water level is quite high down south in swamp territory, and when settlers first began burying their dead here, they would soon be greeted with floating corpses. Creepy! Hence, a new form of burial practice was put into place, and began getting the nomer , "the city of the dead" as the tombs and mausoleums resembled miniature houses for the dearly departed.
Some families have erected pyramids, some are copies of the "notre dame" in paris. walking through these cemeteries gives one a curious feeling. the oldest of the cemeteries, st. louis, has been there since the 1600s, and it is evident in the rapidly deteriorating building materials.I believeI visited almost all the New Orleans 'Cities of the Dead' in one day. Our first were St. Louis #1, 2, and 3 - each older than the next. Most of the tombs were quite simple with no ornamentation - as the times allowed. You can see the sharp contrast between st. luis, nocated near the french quarter, and metairie, which is a good half hour's drive outside of the city. Lafayette, located in the garden district, has been around since the 1800s, but afforded no more grandiosity nor artwork, as metairie provided us. Metairie was our last cemetery that day, and it was what we had been searching for all day. It was literally a massive multi cultural city of the dead, with tombs likening the great pyramids of the pharaos, to those representing the notre dame in paris and the acropolis in greece. we drove through most of the cemetery, as we ended up covering nearly 5 miles - and that was not even the whole of it. what a truly incredible experience!
i think this is the one place in the united states, that is surrounded by so much history, enigma, voodoo, and a truly unique mixture of the french, spanish, and african culture. one tomb in st. louis was decorated with fruit, candles, and an array of voodoo religious parphernelia, andnext to it,a stoic catholic effigy of the virgin mary.
i suppose the strange feeling i have is just like walking through a house that is hundreds of years old. one imagines the lives that have been lived here, and presence of those that have passed on. much like the cemeteries here, where the bodies don't lie submerged, below ground, but right next to you, beckoning you to come inside...
Part of the The French Quarter and Esplanade travel blog
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