New Orleans' cemeteries are part of the city's culture as well as its landscape—and St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is the oldest and most famous. Opened in 1789 on the edge of the French Quarter, the cemetery is home to the tomb of Marie Laveau, a free woman of color who earned a reputation as the city's most powerful voodoo queen in the 1800s. Her tomb is littered with tributes (money, alcohol, candy, trinkets) left by those who hope the queen will grant their desires from beyond the grave. In the Garden District, Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 made a cameo in several movies, including Interview with a Vampire and Double Jeopardy. Save Our Cemeteries, a non-profit dedicated to cemetery restoration and preservation, runs tours of both St. Louis No. 1 and Lafayette No. 1.
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Humbling experience at Holt Cemetery
I had been to a few of the traditional catacomb cemeteries before but my incredible friend, and host, for the weekend really likes this one as many of the tombstones are handmade. The families of the people buried here often cannot afford traditional tombstones so they make them themselves. I’ve never visited a cemetery before that had such tangible sense of death to it. Some of the graves were only marked by bricks lined around them or pvc pipe. Very humbling.
New Orleans is made for walking, so grab your honey by the hand and take a stroll through the French Quarter. Pop in and out of antique shops on Chartres and Royal or just take in the wrought-iron balconies, street musicians, and colorful characters. The Garden District's leafy streets are lined with fine examples of Greek Revival and Italianate architecture. The area is also home to Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, which dates back to 1833 and is lined with magnolia trees. You can also opt for a guided walking tour: The city offers everything from basic tours of the Quarter and the Garden District to haunted tours, voodoo tours, and cocktail tours.