The Mysteries of St. Louis Cemetery

by M-Gillies
St. Louis Cemetery #1 in New Orleans

St. Louis Cemetery #1 spans just one square block, but is the resting place of over 100,000 deceased people.

Littered by the debris of crumbling, sun-bleached family tombs, and a labyrinth of narrow, twisting walkways, the necropolis of the St. Louis Cemetery is perhaps one of the most famous in New Orleans.

Located just outside the infamous French Quarter, the ancient crumbling cemetery became prominent housing for the dead in 1789 after city officials closed the St. Peter Street Cemetery after reaching its capacity.

With the heavy rainstorms forcing buried bodies to rise above the saturated ground, city officials established St. Louis Cemetery #1. and while under rule of Spain, then governor of New Orleans, Esteban Miro, implemented the development of the wall vault system. Popular in Spain, these above ground vaults were offered to people who wanted to be buried stylishly, while allowing for a larger capacity of admittance.

With the walls of these economical vaults lining the cemetery grounds, the rich and wealthier families were able to purchase large ornate tombs with crypts for family interment.

For years, the unmarked and crumbling tombs of St. Louis Cemetery have been the site of a number of unexplained phenomena, haunted by strange mournful sounds emanating from the cavernous crypts and mysterious glowing vapors. In one area of the cemetery, it is said that the ghostly image of a man’s face can be seen frequently appearing on the wall of a tomb.

Despite the ghostly hauntings, after a series of epidemics struck New Orleans in the early 1830s, which were blamed upon the noxious fumes emitted from the corpses, city council passed an ordinance requiring all future burials take place on land purchased on the Bayou of St. John.

To date, St. Louis Cemetery #1 is the oldest surviving necropolis in New Orleans and attracts a number of tourists who visit the site and learn of its eerie lore, including the tale of resident Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau.

Read more:

©2019, All rights reserved.