St Louis Cemetery Number 1

New Orleans' oldest existing "City of the Dead"

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Mark Twain once described the cemeteries in New Orleans as “the cities of the dead.”  Upon visiting it is easy to see why.  People here are buried in above ground crypts.  This practice began partially because of the city’s high water table.  No one wants their dearly departed rising up from the grave with the next flood.  This custom was also common in some areas of Europe as well as some Catholic communities, so it followed the traditions of many early New Orleanians.  St Louis Cemetery #1 was established in 1789.  While another, no longer existing cemetery preceded it, this is the oldest remaining New Orleans City of the Dead.  Unfortunately the Archdiocese of New Orleans had to end public access due to recurring vandalism.  However many local tour groups are able to bring groups through for a fee.

At A Glance

425 Basin St
New Orleans LA 70112
504 482 5065


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