The first of our New Orleans cemeteries was the St. Peter Cemetery on St. Peter and Burgundy Streets in the French Quarter. Burials in St. Peter began in 1721 and continued until 1800. Burials were below ground.
New Orleans cemeteries are famous for their rich architectural schemes. Predominantly done in classical revival, the skylines of the cemeteries are as compelling as the city's itself. Elaborate stone tombs are adorned with ironwork, statues and carved marble markers. If the tombs were like small mansions for the dead, then there were also more affordable condos in the form of wall vaults. Long rows of mausoleum-like vaults fill many of the cemeteries and familes used them for multiple burials as well.
Oddly, the city's cemeteries sit in well traveled areas. Most, when they were laid out, were on the outskirts of the city. But as the city grew they were enveloped. So cemeteries now lie next to some of the New Orleans' livelier sites and attractions. St. Louis I and II border the blocks where Storyville bordellos once buslted and early jazz came of age. St. Louis III lies behind the Fair Grounds. In the heart of the Garden District, Lafayette I sits across the street from the internationally renowned restaurant Commander's Palace.
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