Just back of the old lies the new Cemetery of St. Roch. It is carefully and beautifully laid out, and therefore lacks the romantic picturesqueness of the older shrine. A mortuary chapel, frescoed by two Carmelite monks from Munich, adorns the center.
Leaving the cemetery, walk down St. Roch's Avenue to St. Claude "Street, and, taxing the Claiborne car, ride as far as Louisa Street, where the
St. Vincent de Paul Cemeteries
may be seen. These cemeteries were laid out by Pepe Llula, the famous fencing master of old Creole days, who has already been mentioned in connection with the story of the "Dueling Oaks" in the City Park. After having taught the "jeunesse dore" of New Orleans how to meet in mortal combat as "swordsmen and gentlemen," and led the most famous fencing masters to do the same thing, and kill one another "just for the sake of showing the art," Pepe Llula settled down in this old truck farm section of ancient New Orleans, and, after the erection of the parish church of St. Vincent de Paul, over forty years ago, he cut up his ground into cemeteries, and named them after the patron saint of the parish. The tombs are built on the same order as those of the ancient French cemeteries. The old fencing master, with his wife and only daughter, is buried here. Just over the way, overlooking the cemeteries, in a handsome house, bounded by Clouet, Louisa and Urquhart Streets, is the ancient home of the famous swordsman, where his grandchildren still reside. One room is kept sacred. It is filled with the trophies of Pepe Llula's great battles.
Across Canal Street lie the American cemeteries, and the oldest of these is the
Girod Street Cemetery,
which is the first Protestant burying ground ever laid out in New Orleans. It lies on Girod Street, between Cypress and Perriliat, and was named for Nicholas Girod, who formerly had his plantation along this line. Away back in 1844 the cemetery was one of the handsomest and swellest in the city, but after the great epidemics of '53 and '66 it was mainly abandoned, and is now given over principally to the very poor, to negroes and emigrants. The only families of note who still have their tombs there are those who acquired the ground in the early days of the cemetery's history. Historic monuments are those erected to Colonel S. W. Bliss, who was a son-in-law of President Taylor, and of Dr. Thomas Leacock, who for thirty years was rector of the old Christ Church. Glendy Burke and his wife are buried in the central aisle, in a tomb which was erected in 1832. Some of the old graves date as far back as 1821, and are in utter decay. One ancient tomb tears the legend, "Mammy, aged 84, a faithful servant, who lived and died a good Christian, 1829."
Lafayette No. 1
also called the Washington Street Cemetery, is on Washington Avenue, between Prytania and Coliseum Streets. This cemetery succeeded the Girod as the aristocratic burial-place of the American Quarter. Henry W. Allen, War Governor of Louisiana, was buried here; the body was subsequently removed, but the monument remains. General John B. Hood and General Harry T. Hays, distinguished Confederate commanders, rest within these ancient aisles. A magnificent monument is that erected to Captain Charles W. McLellan, a Louisiana boy, who in 1861, at the early age of 19, enlisted in the Crescent Rifles. Captain McLellan took part in twenty-three engagements, the most noted of the war, but it was at the Battle of Sharpsburg that he signally distinguished himself. General Jackson found it necessary to protect his left flank, and ordered a detail from the .Second Louisiana Brigade to go forward. McLellan was put in command. He was only twenty years of age. To reach the point indicated it was necessary to pass through a narrow valley called by the soldiers "The Valley of Death," and over which the Federals were pouring shrapnel and shell to such an extent that it seemed impossible for any one to go through alive. Yet McLellan with his men gained the point amid the cheers of their comrades and to the delight of General Jackson, who then and there recommended him for promotion.
From the cemeteries of the French and American Quarters that seem like bits of old world painting set down in the heart of New Orleans, take the car in Canal Street labeled "Canal Belt," and ride out to the new and beautiful cities of the dead, lying tit the extremity of the ancient street. Six or seven of these cemeteries will be found grouped together on Metairie Ridge, near the Half-Way House. The first one, on approaching the Ridge, is a Jewish cemetery, called "Tememe Direch," or "Hebrew Rest." Near by is another Jewish cemetery that belongs to the congregation "Dispersed of Judah." The Hebrews still adhere in New Orleans to the ancient custom of burying their dead in the ground. The Charity Hospital burying ground and "Potter's Field" are on the left, and to the right is Cypress Grove Cemetery, the beautiful trees indicating the name.
St, Patrick Cemeteries,
so fresh and clean in their snow-white garb and pebbly walks, always attract attention. Here lie the sturdy Irish pioneers who came to New Orleans in the early part of the last century and helped to make her history the proud tale it is. Many of the best old families in the city have their tombs, in these cemeteries. They breathe throughout the spirit of Catholic faith. Special attention is directed to the beautiful Calvary shrine at the further end of St. Patrick's No. 1 and the Mater Dolorosa that marks the entrance to St. Patrick's No. 2.
The Firemen's Cemetery
will be recognized from the gateway, modeled upon the Egyptian pilon or temple gates. This cemetery stands a monument to the efforts of the old Volunteer Fire Department of New Orleans, which did such effectual service from the foundation of the city till a few years ago, when the old volunteer system was replaced by a paid Fire Department. All through the cemetery will be seen the tombs belonging to these old Volunteer Fire Companies, and some chronicle the deaths of heroes who gave up their lives for the protection of the city. Notable among these is the lofty shattered column that commemorates the sacrifice of Trad Ferry, the first martyr of the Department, who was killed at a fire on Camp Street in 1837; of Maunsell White, a leading citizen and planter, now remembered as the inventor of the pepper sauce that bears his name; in the central aisle is a column commemoratiug John T. Monroe, the War Mayor of the city. It might be mentioned here that the Volunteer Fire Department included the beat men in New Orleans, socially and commercially. Indeed; all through the old cemetery the inscriptions on the tombs show the character of the firemen as citizens.
The Masonic Cemeteries are in this section. They are shaded by beautiful avenues of trees, and the effect is very picturesque.
whose very name suggests fresh pictures of woodlands and verdure, lies just over the way from the firemen's burying-ground. Almost at the very entrance, towards the New Basin Canal, stands the monument erected by the women of New Orleans to the memory of the Confederate dead. The monument is surmounted by the figure of a private soldier, and around the four corners of the shaft are grouped the busts of Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston, Stonewall Jackson and Leonidas Polk. Beneath the mound repose the bones of over 600 Confederate soldiers, gathered several years after the War from many a battlefield, where they lay moldering and neglected. This *was the first monument ever erected to the Confederate dead. At the unveiling Father Ryan's beautiful poem, "The March of the Deathless Dead," was read. The monument is in the custody of the Ladies' Confederate Memorial Association of Louisiana, which erected it. . A. D. Crossman, Mayor of the city 1846 to 1854, is buried in Greenwood. A gallant soldier and journalist, Dan C. Byerly, who fell during one of the heated political conflicts which grew out of the Reconstruction period, sleeps peacefully in Greenwood's aisles. At the lower end of the cemetery is an artistic monument to the firemen in the form of a lofty pavilion, in which stands the marble figure of a volunteer carrying a line of hose. Two martyr volunteers, D. S. Woodruff, Ex-Foreman, and William McLeod, Foreman of Mississippi Fire Company No. 2, who were both killed at the same fire in 1854 are nobly commemorated here. A notable tomb is that of the Typographical Union, inaugurated in 1855. The tomb of W. T. Richards, who left a bequest of $80,000 to the Charity Hospital, is in Greenwood.
For a number of years Greenwood stood unrivalled as a fair and verdant resting-place for the dead, but just across the bayou there arose in time, on the site once occupied by the famous Metairie Race Course, the beautiful
a fair and lovely spot, that seems to rob death of half its terrors to leave the loved one sleeping there. The old Metairie Jockey Club went out of existence in 1870, and the race track, which for thirty years was the most noted in the United States, was purchased by a wealthy citizen and turned into a cemetery. The Metairie Cemetery Association, organized in 1872, now owns the place. It has greatly beautified the cemetery. The system of lakes and lawn was executed in 1805 at a cost of $30,000. The first lake, near the main entrance, is called the "Horseshoe." A carriage drive thirty-two feet wide extends around the lake, and there is a shady promenade for pedestrians. The second lake is 1,200 feet wide, or one-half as long as the Horseshoe, and the third lake is 2,700 feet long. The grounds are beautifully laid out, and many handsome and costly mausoleums and monuments mark the resting-places of the dead. Near the entrance stands the magnificent monument-tomb of the Army of Tennessee, surmounted by Doyle's famous equestrian statue of Albert Sidney Johnston.
The trophy of arms over the entrance was modeled from the badge of the Association. At the entrance to the vault stands a marble statue of an orderly "Calling the Roll." It is also from the chisel of Doyle. The burial vault, in the heart of the mound, contains a tablet to the memory of General Johnston, on which is inscribed Dimitry's famous epitaph, said to be one of the finest mortuary inscriptions in the English language. Within the mound, along with many of the' soldiers he led, sleeps General P. G. T. Beauregard, the great Confederate chieftain.
Over the way from the entrance is a massive monument, surmounted by a granite shaft, along which are grouped several life-sized figures. This monument was erected recently by Mr. Moriarity in memory of his wife. The cost was $60,000. A special railroad leading to the cemetery had to be built to transport the heavy granite blocks of which the monument is constructed.
Near the main aisle of Metairie, as one passes down the shady avenue, is the granite monument beneath which repose Mr. and Mrs. George Nicholson, the late proprietors of the Picayune. Dying within ten days of each other, side by side under the grassy mound they sleep the last eternal sleep. Mrs. Nicholson's maiden name was Eliza J. Poitevent. She was known to the world of letters as "Pearl Rivers." She was one of the sweetest poets who ever touched a lyre and woke it into song.
Among other interesting tombs are those of Thomas Jenkins Semmes, who was the last of the Confederate Senators to answer the great roll call; Dr. Thomas R. Markham, a noted Confederate chaplain; A. C. Hutchinson, who left a bequest of nearly a million dollars to the Tulane University; Patrick O'Brien, who so magnificently endowed the Catholic University at Washington; General Fred N. Ogden, a conspicuous figure of Reconstruction days, and commander of the famous White League. The latter sleeps beneath the most expressive monument in the cemetery, a great granite bolder, lying under a gigantic live oak, towards the western end. Mr. John T. Gibbons, brother of Cardinal Gibbons, has his family tomb in Greenwood, as also the Stauffer, Slocomb, Aldige, McCan, Morris, Hernandez and other prominent families. These monuments cost thousands of dollars. Especially beautiful are those located on the Ridge, just around the curve of the old race course, and overlooking the lake. The tomb of the Army of Northern Virginia is surmounted by a shaft crowned by a statue of General Stonewall Jackson. Aside from its own historic interest, the tomb has acquired a sacred character in the minds of the people of the South, for within its mound reposed for two years the remains of Jefferson Davis, prior to final interment in Richmond, Virginia. During this period special detachments of Confederate veterans acted as a guard of honor about the tomb by night and day, and when the remains of Mr. Davis were at length carried to the capital of the Confederacy, there to await the last reveille; the vault in which :hey had lain was hermetically sealed and a bronze tablet placed without, telling to future generations that it marked one of the last chapters in the great tragedy of the South. Near by is the monument of the Washington Artillery, surmounted by the figure of a Confederate artilleryman in uniform, guarding the rest of his comrades, who sleep below. Upon the four sides of the tomb is the roll of the dead of this ancient command who "fell on the field of honor."
And last, but not least, in this cemetery of beautiful monuments, is the first tomb ever erected within its limits, that of the owner of the soil, Mr. Charles T. Howard. It is a large structure of granite, with iron gates, through which the visitor may see the interior and the statue of "Time," seated, with a finger pressed to the lips. The face of this statue is said to have been modeled from that of Mr. Howard' himself.
Metairie Cemetery is a great promenade of a Sunday evening. Flowers are always blooming upon the graves, and the freshness and verdure lead the the mind from the contemplation of death to the thought of God.
Other cemeteries in New Orleans are St. Joseph's, on Sixth Street, near Liberty, in which may be seen the old wooden structure that first served as a church to the Redemptory's Fathers, in Constance Street, and which was transferred to this plot and turned into a mortuary chapel when the splendid new churches were erected; the three St. Vincent de Paul Cemeteries, in Soniat and Dufossat Streets, and the ancient Carrollton Cemetery, which marks the resting-place of the first settlers of this now beautiful suburb of New Orleans.
All Saints' Day,
which always falls on November 1, is observed in New Orleans as the general day for the decoration of the graves of the dead. It has been said that New Orleans has two great festivals — the Carnival, when she invites strangers from all parts of the world to come and make merry with her, and "All Saints," the great home festival, when, heart to heart, the entire city meets on common ground to pay its tribute to the loved and lost. Together the rich and poor, the high and low, recognize that barriers of caste and class have no place in the all-embracing dominion of death; for each home has its heart history written somewhere out in the white cities of the dead. It may be on the marble tablet of some stately mausoleum, or only on the rude wooden headboard of some grass-grown mound. But the dead are there, and the heart is there, and so the city unites in its work of love and remembrance.
All Saints' is a legal holiday, and all the banks, stores and places of business are closed. For weeks before its advent the florists are busily engaged preparing for the immense sale of flowers which the day always brings, and the patient workers in beads and wax, down in Royal Street, place on exhibition their wonderful creations of months of labor to remind the passersby that All Saints' is approaching, and that these designs are not so perishable as those made of natural flowers. The cemeteries, too, are filled with faithful workers, cleaning the tombs and planting fresh flowers. The day dawns and enfolds the city in its hallowed influence. From every home the people go forth, bearing their fragrant offerings. From morning till night the cemeteries are thronged, and it does one good just to look at the vast, soulful, heart-throbbing multitude, so different from the gay, rollicking crowds of Carnival time, and all linked together by one thought, "the dead, the dead," who are everywhere. The florists, the cake vendors, the praline women, the perambulating refreshment stands, all do a thriving business, for the people spend the day in the cemeteries, going quietly and decorously from one to another, after having paid their tributes at their own individual shrines, for death sanctifies the day.
The observance of All Saints' dates away back to the year 998, when the Abbott of Cluney instituted it for the monasteries of his congregation, holding services for the dead, and going from grave to grave and lighting blessed candles before them, decking them with flowers, and blessing them with holy water. All these customs are still observed in the old French cemeteries of New Orleans. Some of the tombs resemble miniature altars on All Saints', with their numbers of lighted candles and sacred images. In all the Catholic Cemeteries services are held, and at a certain hour the priests with a train of acolytes pass up and down the aisles, sprinkling the graves with holy water and singing litanies, just as the old French Jesuits and Capuchins used to do in the first days of the old St. Louis Cemetery.
Though distinctly Catholic in its origin, the thought underlying the celebration of All Saints' is so beautiful that the custom of setting aside this one day for communing with the dead has been instinctively adopted by all the nationalities of New Orleans, and poor indeed must be the home that fails to respond to the call of this consecrated day, when Love and Memory walk hand in hand along the borderland of time and eternity, strewing the way with flowers.The Picayune's Guide to New Orleans, 1904