I had a day off last week, so I thought I'd visit Lafayette Cemetery #1, one of the few New Orleans cemeteries I had never photographed. Located in the Garden District, this is a very beautiful cemetery surrounded outside its walls by lovely houses and verdent boulevards (unlike several of our cemeteries which are surrounded by slums and housing projects).
The cemetery is bounded by wall tombs---literally, cemetery walls that are made up of tombs, stacked five or six high. Lafayette #1 has some of the longest wall tombs I've ever seen.
One of the dates you see quite a bit in this cemetery is 1878: One of the years of the yellow fever epidemic that claimed 41,000 lives in New Orleans. Below are just a couple of the tombs where several family members who died within days of each other lie buried.
There are many beautifully laid out tombs here, in orderly rows much less chaotic than some of the downtown cemeteries. Here are a few of the very stately tombs:
While the place seems well cared for, damage is apparent everywhere. I arrived just after a rainstorm. Here is a grave that holds standing water---in time this will crack the stone and the soil (and bones) underneath will begin to rise.
Here are some badly damaged graves. Water, hurrianes and time have this effect on cement.
There are some heart-breaking childrens' graves here.
The grave at right is a society grave. In the 1800s you could choose not to be buried with your family, but (for a fee) be buried with a particular element of society. This tomb was for those who cared for orphans left by the 1878 dead.
I have never seen a green tomb before...I'd kinda' like one of these when I die.
Some markers just speak for themselves...