Lafayette Cemetery No. 1

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 is a historic cemetery located in the Garden District of New Orleans, Louisiana. It is one of the city’s most famous and visited cemeteries, known for its unique above-ground tombs and intricate ironwork. Here’s some information about Lafayette Cemetery No. 1:

  1. History: Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 was established in 1833 and was originally known as City of Lafayette Cemetery. It was one of the earliest municipal cemeteries in New Orleans and served as a final resting place for wealthy and prominent families of the city.
  2. Architecture and Layout: The cemetery is characterized by its distinct above-ground tombs, which are a result of New Orleans’ high water table. The tombs are constructed with brick or stone, and the use of above-ground burials became a common practice to prevent caskets from floating during heavy rains and floods. The cemetery features rows of tombs arranged in a grid-like pattern, with narrow walkways between them.
  3. Tomb Styles and Designs: Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 showcases a variety of tomb styles and designs, representing different architectural influences and periods. You can find tombs influenced by Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, and Egyptian Revival styles, among others. Some tombs are adorned with ornate details, sculptures, and decorative ironwork, reflecting the artistry and craftsmanship of the time.
  4. Notable Burials: The cemetery is the final resting place of many notable individuals, including politicians, artists, and war veterans. Some of the notable burials include Judge John Howard Ferguson, who played a role in the landmark Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court case, and Brigadier General Harry T. Hays, a Confederate officer during the American Civil War.
  5. Pop Culture References: Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 has been featured in numerous films, TV shows, and literature. It has appeared in movies such as “Interview with the Vampire” and “Double Jeopardy,” and served as an inspiration for the fictional Bonaventure Cemetery in the book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”
  6. Preservation and Restoration: Over the years, Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 has faced challenges due to natural deterioration and vandalism. Efforts have been made to restore and preserve the cemetery, including restoration projects, regular maintenance, and guided tours to raise awareness and funds for its upkeep.
  7. Public Access: The cemetery is open to the public, allowing visitors to explore its historic grounds and appreciate the unique atmosphere. However, due to the delicate nature of the tombs and ongoing restoration work, access to some areas may be restricted.

When visiting Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, it’s important to remember that it is a place of rest and reverence. Visitors should be respectful of the cemetery’s historical and cultural significance and follow any guidelines or restrictions in place. Exploring the cemetery provides a glimpse into New Orleans’ rich history, unique burial practices, and the architectural beauty of its above-ground tombs.

New Orleans has a deep and rich history! Check out our recommendations for the best history tours!