- Type: Landmarks
NileGuide Expert Says:
Taking a tour of Lafayette Cemetery is definitely worthwhile. There are a lot of fascinating things to learn about the cemetery and the burial customs of New Orleans.
- Lafayette Cemetery in the Garden District is one of the oldest cemeteries in the country, and has been in operation since 1824. New Orleans residents quickly learned that because of the high water table and unpredictable flooding, coffins cannot be placed six feet underground; their dead must be buried in above-ground tombs. These rows of sarcophagus tombs are the reason New Orleans cemeteries are often referred to as "Cities of the Dead." Lafayette Cemetery may look strangely familiar – it has been used in several movies, including Interview with a Vampire. Author Anne Rice lives nearby and wrote about Lafayette Cemetery in many of her vampire books. Visitors can take a tour and learn the history of Lafayette Cemetery (you can even take a carriage ride there from the French Quarter), or you can explore on your own. See the wall vaults and the "Secret Garden," a square of four tombs built by a secret society of friends who wanted to be buried together. As for lunch after touring, the Commander's Palace, one of the best restaurants in the city, is right across the street.
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