What is Unique about the Cemeteries in New Orleans?
The cemeteries in New Orleans are perhaps the most famous in the United States. There are five major cemeteries within the city, all mainly Roman Catholic: Metairie, Greenwood Street, and three in the vicinity of the French Quarter collectively called Saint Louis. Because of the swampy ground in New Orleans, settlers soon discovered that burying people underground was impractical, as the bodies would wash up whenever it flooded. Consequently, the cemeteries in New Orleans are characterized by above-ground tombs reminiscent of those in European cemeteries like Pere Lachaise in Paris. The tombs in New Orleans cemeteries are often quite elaborate and accompanied by some of the country’s best examples of funerary sculpture. Many of the tombs are family crypts that have been in use since the cemeteries opened in the 18th or 19th century. Also common in earlier days were tombs for the members of a certain company or organization. These are often the largest and most elaborate structures in t