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A Guide to the Most Historic New Orleans Cemeteries to Visit

TOUR THE MUST-SEE FAMOUS CEMETERIES OF NEW ORLEANS AND DISCOVER THE LEGENDS WHO LAY IN THE CITIES OF THE DEAD

Residing within New Orleans’ cemeteries are reflections of the city’s long-storied past. The countless burial sites inside New Orleans have earned the city the nickname Cities of the Dead. While less known than its other nickname, the Big Easy, it is nonetheless befitting.

The burial practices in New Orleans cemeteries yield attention beyond its famous residents like Marie Laveau. While most cemeteries worldwide bury their deceased in the ground, New Orleans has tomb burials above ground due to the city’s high water table.

Most New Orleans cemeteries offer guided tours, providing exciting and thrilling tales of the city and its departed souls. Touring historic New Orleans cemeteries can be a surreal experience, with visitors often gaining knowledge and appreciation and, occasionally, a spine-chilling shiver.

Carrollton Cemetery No. 1

Carrollton Cemetery No. 1, also known as the Green Street Cemetery, was established around 1849 in the town of Carrollton. The town and its cemetery were annexed by the City of New Orleans in 1874. The cemetery is still owned by the city today. It is the final resting place for many notable people who positively influenced Carrollton as a town and New Orleans neighborhood.

Carrollton Cemetery No. 2

Carrollton Cemetery No. 2, also known as St. Mary’s Cemetery, was established around 1893 and is located a block north of Carrollton Cemetery No. 1. It once belonged to the Catholic Church of Saint Mary of the Nativity but was acquired by the City of New Orleans from the Archdiocese of New Orleans in 1921. Many of the cemetery’s residents are of German heritage. However, there is also an in-ground section of indigent burials.

Cypress Grove Cemetery

Cypress Grove Cemetery, also known as Firemen’s Cemetery, was established in 1840 and is home to marble and cast iron tombs. The cemetery honors volunteer firefighters and is the final resting place of Maunsel White, a Battle of New Orleans veteran, a politician, and one of the first to market tabasco pepper sauce. Another famous resident interred at the cemetery is James Henry Caldwell, an English-born American actor turned theatre manager and entrepreneur. Caldwell is called “New Orleans’ Father of Light” for bringing gas lighting to the city.

Gates of Prayer Cemetery

Gates of Prayer Cemetery, also known as Canal Street Cemetery, was established in 1858. While the cemetery has above-ground burials, it also honors Jewish tradition with below-ground burials.

Greenwood Cemetery

Greenwood Cemetery was established in 1852 by the Fireman’s Charitable and Benevolent Association, following Cypress Grove Cemetery. The cemetery is known for its decorative memorials and tombs, including a monument for 600 Civil War soldiers, the Firemen’s monument, and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks tomb.

Dispersed of Judah and Hebrew Rest Cemeteries

New Orleans’ first Jewish cemetery was established in 1827. The cemetery was later closed, with most remains moved to Hebrew Rest Cemetery No. 1. Other cemeteries include Hebrew Rest Cemeteries No. 2 and No. 3 and Dispersed of Judah Cemetery.

Holt Cemetery

Holt Cemetery was established in 1879. The municipal cemetery was founded for the city’s impoverished population. The cemetery differs from others in the city, as most of its burial sites are below ground.

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 was established in 1833. The cemetery has many oak trees providing shade for visitors and its eternal residents, including early settlers and soldiers. The cemetery has also been a source of inspiration for novelist Ann Rice.

Lafayette Cemetery No. 2

Lafayette Cemetery No. 2 was established sometime in the early 1850s. The cemetery is home to over 20 societies, including the Butchers’ Benevolent Society and various African-American labor societies.

Masonic Cemetery

The Masonic Cemetery was established in 1865. The cemetery, founded by the Grand Lodge of the State of Louisiana Free and Accepted Masons, is known for elaborate tombs and tall marble structures.

Metairie Cemetery

Metairie Cemetery was established in 1872. The cemetery is the final resetting place for over 9,000, including several prominent politicians, historical figures, Popeyes Chicken founder Al Copeland, and New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson.

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 was established in 1789 and is New Orleans’ oldest cemetery. The cemetery is one of the city’s most significant cultural icons with its maze of mesmerizing tombs and polarizing residents like the voodoo queen Marie Laveau.

St. Louis Cemetery No. 2

St. Louis Cemetery No. 2 was established in 1823. The cemetery resides in the Faubourg Treme, a neighborhood known for its music, and poetically, it is the eternal resting place for musicians, including Paul Barbarin, Danny Barker, Edgar “Dooky” Chase Jr., Earl King, and Ernie K-Doe.

St. Louis Cemetery No. 3

St. Louis Cemetery No. 3 was established in 1854. The cemetery resides in New Orleans’ Mid-City neighborhood near Bayou St. John. The entrance to the cemetery is adorned with carved stone angels and is home to notable residents, including photographer E.J. Bellocq and chefs Leah Chase and Paul Prudhomme.

St. Patrick’s Cemeteries

St. Patrick Cemeteries numbers 1, 2, and 3 were established in 1841. The cemeteries were founded by the parish of St. Patrick’s Church, a parish formed by Catholic Irish immigrants. Due to the burial site’s layout, the cemetery was separated into three sections.

St. Roch Cemeteries

St. Roch Cemetery No. 1 was established in 1874. The cemetery was built for Catholic German Immigrants and has been called one of the most unusual cemeteries in the world. Visitors are known for leaving odd offerings at St. Roch Cemetery’s chapel after praying to St. Roch and recovering from their ailments. Offerings range from rosaries and coins to figurines, prosthetics, and other eclectic objects. A room in the chapel houses offerings from throughout the years. St. Roch Cemetery No. 2 was established around 1879 and is known for its tile mosaics of saints and its St. Michael’s Chapel Mausoleum.

Valence Cemetery

Valence Cemetery, also known as Valence Street Cemetery, was established in 1867. The cemetery was originally the municipal cemetery for the City of Jefferson, an early suburb of New Orleans, which later became Uptown. Residing in the cemetery are tombs for several elite New Orleans societies, including the St. Anthony of Padua Italian Mutual Benefit Society, the St. Joseph’s Sepulcher of the Male and Female Benevolent Association, and the Ladies and Gentlemen Perseverance Benevolent Association.

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