6/18/2010

Spooky

We visited the St Louis Cemetery while we were there. It was founded in 1789 and listed on the National registrar of Historic Places. It is the burial ground of some of the most illustrious citizens of New Orleans. For example, Etienne de Bore who was the pioneer of sugar development; Daniel Clark, Paul Murphy a chess champion. even Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau is believed to have her final resting place here.

The above-ground tombs in the cemeteries of New Orleans are often referred to as "cities of the dead." Enter their gates and you will be greeted by decorative, rusty ironwork, and blinded by the sun bleached tombs. Crosses and statues on tomb tops cast contrasting shadows adding a sense of mystery.

New Orleans has always respected the dead, but this isn't the reason the tombs of our departed loved ones are interred above ground. Early settlers in the area struggled with different methods to bury the dead. Burial plots are shallow in New Orleans because the water table is high. Dig a few feet down, and the grave becomes soggy, filling with water. The casket will literally float. You just can't keep a good person down! The early settlers tried by placing stones in and on top of coffins to weigh them down and keep them underground. Unfortunately, after a rainstorm, the rising water table would literally pop the airtight coffins out of the ground. To this day, unpredictable flooding still lifts an occasional coffin out of the ground in those areas generally considered safe from flooding and above the water table. Another method tried was to bore holes in the coffins. This method also proved to be unsuitable. Eventually, New Orleans' graves were kept above ground following the Spanish custom of using vaults.

You could take many tours to the cemetery, which is across the street from a wonderful church. They say this church was the oldest in the area, since the first four we no longer upright. I also learned that the church in Jackson Square was the oldest also. I need to do some research and find out who was right. So far as I have been researching, the cemetery tour guide has been correct in everything he has said. The chick on the horse and buggy... not so much!
We choose a walking tour that lasted two hours in the Louisiana heat and humidity, and I almost died myself.

Okay so the story behind this is, sell your plots. Total waste of money. You need to buy a tomb, and the entire family will be resting in there. It's really weird how it works. You die, then they put you in the tomb for one year and one day. Since the weather and the composition of the tomb is what it is, you are essentually being placed in an oven for a year and one day. After the period of a year and one day, they take you out of the tomb and basically put you in a trash bag and make room for the next body. If two people of the same family die at the same time, they would put one of them in the holding wall, awaiting the 1 year and 1 day time period. There are what is known as family tombs and society tombs. So if you did not have a family per say, you could be buried in a Moose society tomb. Interesting. The coffins are made of cardboard or plywood. They are not as glamorous as the ones we see at funerals.

In the cemetery there was a Italian Tomb make of imported marble. It was round and had many tombs incased in it. It was beautiful. It took many years to build. The head of the statue is missing and it was believed that Dennis Hopper was in possession of it.
This was the cemetery where Easy Rider was filmed, and that movie is why you can no longer film in the cemeteries unless it is a documentary. The exception was "Double Jeopardy" with Ashley Judd and "Interview with a Vampire" that was filmed at Lafayette Cemetery No. 1-1833. I have never seen Easy Rider, but the reasoning why filming is now prohibited is played in that movie. Something about the guys making love to the statues.
Has anyone seen it?

I didn't feel anything as I was walking though the cemetary. Even at the voodoo queen's tomb I did not feel anything, so I am thinking that she is buried elsewhere and this is just for show. Who knows. The people that visit her tomb, leave offerings, such as coins, booze, and flowers. They would make a wish and draw three X's on her tomb. Then the wish is granted, and so on and so forth. Did you know that this Voodoo Queen was a devote Catholic? She was also someone whom everyone would go to, to find advice. They say she was everywhere and knew everything. She talked to the most important people in New Orleans. The slaves. The Slaves always knew what was going on, because they were always around to listen, but never partake in a conversation. Voodoo Queen hung out with them. She also had a daughter who looked just like her, thus explaining the being in two places at the same time. They said that the cemeteries are very dangerous, because of all of the tight hidden spots where muggers could hide and then attack you!

This was the church by the cemetary
This was the Voodoo Queen's tomb, do you see all of the X's there?

This was just a crevice where the muggers could hide!

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