Since New Orleans was founded in 1718, it has always had trouble keeping the dead underground. As heavy rains and floods often unearthed corpses, the city eventually adopted Spanish-style wall vaults to keep the dead underground. With hundreds of towering tombs resembling buildings they were soon nicknamed “Cities of the Dead.” There are more than 40 known cemeteries in the city but St. Louis #1 is the most popular with visitors. Opened in 1789, it is the oldest in the city and home to a number of famous tombs housing notable New Orleanians like the city’s first black mayor, the inventor of craps and Homer Plessy, the plaintiff from the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court case that approved “separate but equal” laws that kept restaurants, waiting rooms and rest rooms in the South segregated until the 1960s. St. Louis is also home to the tomb of voodoo priestess Marie Laveau. You don’t need to be scared of ghosts here but you do need to be cautious of criminals. St. Louis is right next to one of the city’s most crime-ridden housing projects so don’t visit alone and definitely don’t wander around in the wee hours of the morning.
- Open Hours: Sunday from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Attractions & Landmarks, Parks, Gardens & Cemeteries, Tours