Among the many cemeteries the following are the most noteworthy: St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. On Basin street, between Conti and St. Louis streets. The old St. Louis Cemetery, as it is usually called, is the oldest graveyard in the city, and is situated near the centre of the town. The ground was laid out without any order, and the tombs, with the inscriptions in French and Spanish, are scattered about, forming tortuous alleys, through which it is difficult to find the way in and out. As this is the oldest cemetery, the tombs belong to the ancient Creole colonial families, and on the tombstones are the names of many who figured in colonial history. The handsomest tomb is that of the Italian Society, which is easily found on account of its great height and commanding white marble statue of Religion supporting a cross. In the rear is the lofty tomb of the Societe Francaise, a large benevolent society of the French. On the same alley, to your right as you face the monument, is the tomb of Daniel Clark, erected by his friend and executor, Richard Relf. Daniel Clark was American consul during Spanish times, and was claimed by Mrs. General Myra Clark Gaines as her father. The assertion of her claims gave rise to a long litigation which lasted nearly fifty years, until the names of all the parties concerned in the suits have become familiar throughout the country. In front of the Societe Francaise tomb is that of the Artillerie d'Orleans, an artillery company of the city; it is surrounded by cannon, placed in the ground and connected with each other by chains.


St. Louis Cemetery, No. 1, corner St. Louis and Conti streets, is the oldest in the city, and contains the names of many of the early prominent families, such as Claiborne, Mandeville, Marigney, Tanneret, Rosseau, Rocquet, Denis, Garcia. Here are tombs of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and French societies. It is noticeable as being the oldest, but it is very much crowded and not as well kept as many other cemeteries. On All Saints' days artificial muslin and paper flowers prevail here, together with decorations of beads. The air on that day resounds with the rapping of sticks upon the silver plates on the tables to call the visitor's attention to the charity it represents, and is filled with the medley of French, Spanish and Italian voices. Before some tombs candles are burning and postulants kneeling. A few aged negro women, with rosaries in hand, may be heard ejaculating their prayers in French.


Perhaps the most arresting epitaphs in the old St. Louis Cemeteries are those on the tombs of the men who fell in duels: 'Mort sur le champ d'honneur' (Died on the field of honor) 'Victime de son honneur' (Victim of his honor) 'Pour garder intact le nom de famille' (To keep unsullied the name of the family)

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, Basin St. between St. Louis and Toulouse, along with St. Louis Nos. 2 and 3, contains practically all of the tombs of the old Creole families. Many of the early Americans Daniel Clark, his daughter, Myra Clark Gaines, the two wives of Governor Claiborne and many others of similar prominence are buried in what used to be called the American Cemetery, the rear part of St. Louis No. 1 reserved for Protestants. Governor Claiborne himself was buried here until 1906, when his remains were taken to a tomb in Metairie, where they now rest. The oldest decipherable epitaph is that of 'Nannette F. de Bailly. Died the 24th of September, 1800. Aged 45 years.' The low brick tomb of Etienne de Bore, the man who developed sugar-refining in Louisiana and the first mayor of New Orleans, is in this cemetery; his grandson Charles Gayarre, the historian, is buried in the same tomb. Paul Morphy, the famous chess expert, is also buried here. In the De Lino family tomb lies Chalmette, the marble slab bearing his own name having been stolen long ago by vandals and used as a portion of a walk in another part of the cemetery until broken beyond repair. The well-known Voodoo leader, Marie Laveau, is thought by some to lie in a well-kept grave inscribed as follows:
decedee le 11 Juin 1897
agee de soixante-deux ans
Elle fut bonne mere, bonne amie et
regrettee par tous ceux qui l'ont connue
Passants priez pour elle.

Here Lies
deceased June 11, 1897
aged sixty-two years.
She was a good mother, a good friend and
regretted by all who knew her.
Passers-by, please pray for her.


St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 comprises a single square, bounded by St. Louis, Conti, Basin and Liberty streets. At the time of its opening this was just beyond the fortifications, and was doubtless thought very much out of the way. In 1822 it had already become so crowded as to render necessary the opening of new ground. The City Council therefore donated to the Church Wardens three squares bounded by Customhouse, St. Louis, Eobertson and Claiborne streets, which are known as St. Louis Cemetery No. 2. They are separated by the intervening streets Bienville and Conti running parallel with Customhouse and St. Louis, and each square has its own encircling wall, but the three form but one cemetery, though they are often spoken of as Nos. 2, 3 and 4. Here some attempt has been made toward symmetry of arrangement, and a broad central avenue traverses the entire length of the triple enclosure, the tombs being ranged on either side with narrow alleys between, but with a more generous allotment of groiind. The tombs are often surrounded by neat iron railings, and some of them have pretty little "door- yards," with a bit of lawn bordered with box or some low growing shrub, and set of with a rose-bush, or a cape jessamine. As All-Saints day approaches, these quiet precincts take on an aspect of unwonted activity. The marble tombs are washed white and clean, those of stucco whitewashed, inscriptions are re-gilded or touched up with black paint, brick walks are "reddened," grass-plots re-sodded, and everything made ready for the yearly festival of the dead. For weeks before the event the windows of certain shops have been filled with wreaths of immortelles. of beads, minute shells and various other materials, the florists have been hurrying forward their chrysanthemums and other autumn blooming plants, and on the morning of the first day of November every cemetery seenu* to have been suddenly transformed into a garden. The whole population of the city appears to be afoot, and the streets and cars are thronged with flower-laden women and children, hastening to lay the crowning ofiEering upon the tomb of some dear departed one. All day long the throngs pour through the avenues and alleys of the cemeteries, laughing, talking, exchanging notes and comments on the decorations of the tombs they have visited, while at every gate, under the charge of a "Sister," sits a group of pink clad, pink bonneted orphans, making clamorous appeal for charity by beating incessantly with a silver coin upon a metal contribution plate.


The oldest of the walled cemeteries is known as the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, and is the property of the Saint Louis Cathedral, having been acquired by that corporation by a French concession made in 1744. This cemetery is thickly crowded with tombs which are huddled together without any attempt at orderly arrangement. The meager lots are separated only by narrow alleys, and no space has been spared to the ornamental plots of grass, shrubbery and flowers with which it is usual to surroiind the habitations of the dead. Many of the tombs are empty and falling to pieces, the tablets gone, or so worn by winter^s storms and summer's heats that the inscriptions are no longer legible. Some of them, and these the oldest, appear never to have been furnished with tablets, their place being supplied by a small cross of wrought iron, upon which are rudely cut the name, age, and date of death. Even these are unexpectedly modern, the earliest date decipherable being 1800. This date occurs on two crosses, on one of which can be indistinctly traced the words : "Nanette de P. Bailly, Decede' le 24 1800." A slab laid upon the top of this tomb at a later date repeats the inscription, and fills up the hiatuses, at the same time commemorating the two children of "Nanette," who died in 1812. The lady was, according to the revised inscription : "Nannette Cadin, femme de Pierre Bailly," and died, "Octobre 24, 1800, agee' de 45 ans." Two other crosses whose inscriptions are still legible bear the dates respectively of 1805, and 1811. On the others, two or three in number, the lettering is no longer visible.

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St. Louis Cemetery No. 2, N. Claiborne Ave. and Bienville St., contains several curious tombs. Most interesting is that of Dominique You, pirate-captain under Jean Lafitte, veteran of the Battle of New Orleans, and afterwards a ward politician, whose funeral was the event of the year. Here also is the unmarked 'Voodoo' grave, another supposed resting-place of Marie Laveau. The uninscribed concrete is covered with crosses made by the faithful with bits of red brick; and devotees still bring contributions of food and money, especially on St. John's Eve (June 23). 'Hoodoo money,' in two-cent and eleven-cent combinations, left at the base of the tomb will bring good luck to the depositor or bad luck to his enemy. Marie is said to converse with her followers through the walls of her 'oven,' imparting such information as they desire. Other interesting tombs include those of Alexander Milne, the Scotch philanthropist, in whose honor Milneburg is named; Francois-Xavier Martin, historian; Pierre Soule, United States Senator, Ambassador to Spain, and Confederate statesman; Claude Treme, who founded Faubourg Treme; and Oscar J. Dunn, the mulatto Lieutenant-Governor under Henry Clay Warmoth.

St. Louis No. 3, 3421 Esplanade Ave., occupies the site of the old Bayou Cemetery established by the city in 1835. It became the property of the cathedral in 1856 and is now the finest of the three St. Louis Cemeteries. Its location on very low ground has always been a detriment, but the grounds are well kept and many fine tombs are to be seen. The priests of the diocese are buried here, and many of the religious orders, both priests and nuns, have their mausoleums in this cemetery. Bishops and archbishops are always buried beneath the altar of the cathedral. There is an impressive monument to the memory of James Gallier, Sr., the famous architect who was lost with his wife at sea, erected by his son. Thorny Lafon, the mulatto philanthropist, also has a tomb in this cemetery.


St. Louis Cemeteries Nos. 2, 3 and 4.

The next oldest cemeteries, after the one on Basin street, are those on Claiborne street. Those situated between Bienville and St. Louis streets are used by the whites, and the one between Bienville and Customhouse streets by the colored people. In the centre one, between Bienville and Conti streets, are many handsome tombs belonging to societies and citizens. In the middle of this cemetery rises a large cross, and near by are the tombs of the Delachaise, Cabiro, Plauche, Judge Martin of the Supreme Court, and Alexander Milne, a philanthropist. At the end of the alley, towards Claiborne street, is the Barelli tomb, on which are sculptured bas-reliefs in memory of young Barelli, who was killed by the explosion of the steamboat Louisiana. The accident forms the subject of the bas- relief, and always attracts much attention. At one end of No. 4 cemetery is the large Mortuary Chapel of the Carriere family.


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New Orleans History, 1897-1917


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