It may not be fall quite yet, but it’s never too early to start celebrating the spooky season in a place as unique as New Orleans! Although it may seem a bit morbid, our city is actually famous for its awe-inspiring cemeteries and ornate above-ground tombs. In fact, you’ll often find both tourists and locals alike admiring the beauty of these sacred grounds all year long.
If you’re looking for something fun (and socially distanced!) to do this weekend, our guide to the coolest cemeteries in New Orleans can help you explore some of our city’s most hauntingly beautiful attractions.
Take a Tour of New Orleans’ Most Elaborate Cemeteries
Curious about the origins of NOLA’s cemetery culture? Because Louisiana is well below sea level, locals have turned to above-ground burials to protect their departed loved ones in the event of a flood. Over time, these tombs became more elaborate, resembling artistic sculptures and miniature mansions.
Here are a few New Orleans cemeteries you’ll want to mark off of your “must-see” list. Don’t forget to check ahead of time to make sure they’re open!
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1
As one of the oldest and most famous cemeteries in the entire city, St. Louis No. 1 attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year. Since its creation in 1789, it has been the final resting place of countless VIPs, including the famous Voodoo queen Marie Laveau. But perhaps the most illusive tomb is that of actor Nicholas Cage, who erected a 9-foot white pyramid here for his eventual passing.
Louisiana residents can enter the cemetery for free on Good Friday, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day. Guided tours are also available upon request.
Don’t be fooled by this cemetery’s name—it’s actually located on a former race track between the Lakewood and Navarre districts of New Orleans! More than 9,000 have been laid to rest in this iconic burial place, including multiple Louisiana governors and NOLA mayors. Here, you’ll find towering pyramids, mausoleums laden with breathtaking stained glass insets, and a variety of other spectacular monuments.
If you’re ready to plan your tour, the Metairie Cemetery is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.
St. Louis Cemetery No. 3
Carved stone angels adorn the gates of St. Louis No. 3, a 150+ year old cemetery with over 13,000 burial sites. St. Louis No. 3 is known for its more elaborate crypts, many of which were constructed with fine marble.
Currently, this cemetery is open Monday through Saturday from 8 AM to 4:30 PM, and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
St. Roch Cemetery No. 1
St. Roch No. 1 is truly a place you have to see to believe. Although it may not be the most popular of New Orleans’ cemeteries, it has some of the most unusual features of any spot in town. Perhaps the biggest draw to St. Roch is the spooky Gothic Revival chapel, which features an offering room that’s littered with thank you notes, coins, and even prosthetics.
St. Roch is a popular spot for ghost tours, but you can also visit daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
Lafayette No. 1 has inspired countless authors (like Anne Rice) and musicians (LeAnn Rimes and New Kids on the Block, to name a few) throughout its 187 year history. Here, you’ll uncover 1,100 family tombs and 7,000 individual grave sites, as well as a memorial to the Jefferson Fire Co. #22.
Although this cemetery is temporarily closed due to routine maintenance, it’s scheduled to reopen very soon!
As one of the largest burial sites in New Orleans, the Greenwood Cemetery contains some of the most distinctive monuments in the entire city. The Elks Lodge tomb features a large grassy hilly with an elk statue, while the indoor mausoleum provides a space for quiet reflection.
As of August, Greenwood Cemetery is open Monday through Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Have Some Fun in the Big Easy!
Looking for some more excitement here in New Orleans? Just give us a call—we have plenty of recommendations! And if you’re thinking about buying or selling your home soon, we’d love to help with all of your real estate needs.