Everything You Need to Know About City of the Dead
Just hearing the words “City of the Dead” ignites interest no matter the person. The stories of the haunted cemeteries and paranormal activities have real power over us. And New Orleans is the one city you should visit if the paranormal and spooky are your cup of tea.
Before you go on your City of the Dead New Orleans adventure and step your foot on the sacred grounds, you should know what you are getting yourself into. Learn why were these row-after-row above-ground tombs are called City of the Dead, discover their history, and find out more about the legends that surround these grounds here.
New Orleans City of the Dead Explained
City of the Dead in New Orleans are nothing but burial grounds. But unlike in any other city, the burial grounds here are famous for their architecture, layout pattern, and ghost stories. City of the Dead are beautiful in a unique way. One may even say they posses haunting beauty. Although chipped and crumbling, the tombs look like they were built like that intentionally.
The cemetery pathways appear like streets. Made out of cobblestones and shells touched by time and vandalism, these pathways will take you on an adventure that sends shivers down your spine.
But, why the City of the Dead name? The New Orleans cemeteries were nicknamed by Mark Twain, the famed American author who was fascinated by them. In one of his remarkable literature accomplishments, “Life on the Mississippi,” he even says: “There is no architecture in New Orleans, except in the cemeteries.”
The New Orleans cemeteries’ pathways and above-ground crypt tombs form a large grid pattern. The two cemeteries that we will be discussing today are very much worth your attention.
St. Louis Cemetery #1
St. Louis Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in New Orleans. It is also the most mysterious and most haunted one. The cemetery was established in 1789 by Spanish royal decree because the St. Peter Cemetery, which no longer exists, was reaching capacity.
The city leaders decided to build a new cemetery far away from the city and on a swampy site well below sea level. The high grounds were very expensive at the time, and they didn’t want to designate a high-value construction site to burial grounds.
Soon enough, families of the buried and city officials had to pay the price for such a decision. Rainstorms and the rising water table flushed out the coffins from the ground. This was when they decided to build above-ground crypts and vaults.
The Lafayette Cemetery #1
Lafayette Cemetery is also a City of the Dead New Orleans tourist attraction. Although, no as famed as St Louis cemetery, Lafayette is worth the visit. It is close to the Garden District, which once was the Lafayette City and thus the name Lafayette Cemetery.
The construction of Lafayette Cemetery started in 1832. It became active in 1833. It has four quadrants and is as large as a city block. Besides the unique architecture of the crypts, the cemetery is also famous for the Magnolia trees planted to provide shade during the funeral processions.
The Lafayette Cemetery is where many movies and TV show scenes were filmed, including “NCIS: New Orleans” and “The Originals.”
City of The Dead New Orleans: Ghost Stories
One of the most famous paranormal stories connected with the City of Dead in New Orleans is the story of Marie Laveau, known as The Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. She was born as a free Creole woman of color. As an adult, Marie practiced the occult and Voodoo, but she also crafted numerous herbal cures. Experts say that she got her gift and knowledge from her mother and grandmother.
Marie quickly became famous in New Orleans and got the nickname The Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. She died at the of 86, but many people continued to see her ghost after she had passed away. Even today, her ghost can be seen walking the pathways of the City of the Dead. On occasions, she is known to murmur the New Orleans Santeria Voodoo curse. Some people report a feeling a being touched, a sudden feeling of sickness, or voices coming from her tomb.
Another famous ghost to haunt the grounds of the City of the Dead is Henry Vignes, a sailor from the 19th century. His family tomb is in the St. Louis cemetery. Before going out to the sea, he entrusted the wrong person with essential papers, among which was the ownership of his family’s tomb. While he was away, the person sold his family tomb. When he returned from his voyage, he learned of this betrayal and died soon after.
He now lies in an unmarked grave in the pauper’s section of St. Louis Cemetery #1. But his spirit remains restless, occasionally roaming the City of the Dead and asking visitors about the whereabouts of Vignes’s tomb.
New Orleans Native Tours City and Cemetery Tour
The City of the Dead cemetery tour in New Orleans with New Orleans Native Tours is the best way to experience this city. New Orleans Native Tours offers you a perfect blend of history and mystery bound to take you on an unbelievable adventure you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
You will not only get the chance to visit some of the most historic neighborhoods such as Treme, the French Quarter, Faubourgs St. John and Marigny, and the Warehouse District but also walk the pathways of the City of the Dead. Book your tour today!