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Visting New Orleans, Louisiana

by L. Davis

 

This past February, I traveled with my beautiful wife, Maxine, to New Orleans.  While she attended a national credit union convention, I, along with other member’s spouses, was provided the opportunity to have a convention-sponsored tour of our New Orleans.

 

The first stop on our tour was a French Quarter Cemetery, St. Louis Cemetery #1.  We exited the bus and began our tour of the cemetery accompanied by our tour guide.  Because the city is built on a swamp, the water level is too high to dig graves.  The above-ground crypts and mausoleums were placed in long rows and divided into sections with paved pathways dividing them.  They resemble small villages and have become known as “Cities of the Dead.”

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The first thing I thought about was Ashley Judd in the movie, Double Jeopardy, and the part where she awoke in a casket in a crypt—which she luckily escaped.

 

More than one person can be buried in the crypts.  Many of the crypts dated back to the 19thcemetery2century and would have a list of names carved into their granite faces naming the persons entombed.  One crypt we visited had the remains of 12 nuns from a convent buried in it.  Our tour guide explained that each crypt had a shelf (or flat surface) built up from the floor of the crypt where a “hopefully” deceased body is placed.  The shelf ends before it reaches the rear of the crypt—which creates a “pit” so as one body is replaced by another, the body (or skeleton) already placed on the shelf is pushed to the rear of the crypt and falls into the pit.

 

We were informed that Louisiana requires that a body must be in the crypt a year and a day before another body can be placed in the

Cemetery1crypt.  If someone wishing to be buried in the same crypt dies before the year and a day time limit has passed, his/her body is placed in a temporary crypt (appropriately called the “cooler”) until the time limit has passed.

 

See you next week when our tour takes a livelier turn.

Maxine Davis - August 8, 2014 - 3:29 pm

Hi Everyone, Got my midnights mixed up so this is a little late, and I apologize. Join me next week for another side of New Orleans and lots of pictures.

Jane - August 8, 2014 - 3:37 pm

I’ve heard so much about these cemetery/ghost tours in New Orleans, especially the tomb of Marie Laveau.

Did you get my email, Maxine?

Sia Huff - August 8, 2014 - 4:26 pm

Thank you to your hubby for taking us on this cemetery tour. I’ve heard that I must go see the crypts in New Orleans. Since I’ve only ever visited my own relatives, this advice seemed a little off. Like Jane, Marie Laveau’s name was mentioned.
Very interesting post!

Marilyn Baron - August 8, 2014 - 6:14 pm

Wow, how interesting, and spooky, especially the part about falling into the “pit.” No wonder so many scary stories take place in New Orleans. My husband travels there for business all the time and I don’t know if he’s ever been on one of those tours. I would never go alone or at night. But I loved the blog. It was very well written. Thank your husband for us.

Maxine Davis - August 9, 2014 - 8:32 am

Hi Jane, I did. Not until yesterday could I get my computer to send a reply to you. Sandra Elzie is going to send you your gift card for me. Congratulations again and thank you for commenting. You should receive it shortly. If not, please shoot me another email and I’ll put a card in the mail to you! So sorry for the delay.

Maxine Davis - August 9, 2014 - 8:34 am

Sia, He came back so excited. I want to take the tour. They didn’t get to Marie Laveau’s grave. I want to see that one and take a picture! For some reason I’m thinking it is in Cemetery #3, but not sure where I got that information. :)

Maxine Davis - August 9, 2014 - 8:38 am

Marilyn, He loved the tour! I had never heard about the “pit” either. There are just so many things to see and do there. I want to go back without a conference, and maybe in the Spring, and go on tours! Thank you for commenting

Susan Carlisle - August 11, 2014 - 9:58 am

I find everything about New Orleans interesting. The fact they have to bury above ground is even more fascinating. Thanks for sharing with us.

Connie Gillam - August 11, 2014 - 11:27 am

Hey, Maxine-

I’ve been to New Orleans many times. In fact my Young Adult novel takes place there and I have a scene set in cemetery#1 that your husband described. It’s a great city and I love visiting.
I’ve also been on a ghost tour through the French Quarter. Lots of fun.

Walt Mussell - August 11, 2014 - 12:56 pm

So, the year and a day clause means there is time to escape before falling in, yes?

sandra Elzie - August 12, 2014 - 11:28 pm

Hi Maxine,
Great Artcle that Lanny wrote. I’ve never been on this type of tour of the city, but can’t wait to get back down there.

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