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“Giants of Jazz: Art…

Aug 16 - Dec 17, 2017
This spring, art and music converge as The Historic New Orleans Collection… more

Amazing Scavenger…

Aug 16, 2017 - Jul 03, 2027
Turn New Orleans into a giant game board with this fun scavenger hunt… more

Chicken on the Bone…

Aug 16 - Dec 6, 2017
Want to enjoy some nightlife? No trip to New Orleans is complete if you have… more

Comedy Gold hosted by…

Aug 16 - Nov 1, 2017
In The Voodoo Garden, All Ages (content may not be appropriate for all ages).… more

COOLinary New Orleans…

Aug 16 - 31, 2017
It is going to be a delicious summer!  During the month of August, enjoy… more

David Hansen's Garden…

Aug 16, 2017
Since 2006, Hansen's Garden District Jazz Trio has performed every night at… more

David Hansen's Garden…

Aug 16 - Dec 29, 2017
Since 2006, Hansen's Garden District Jazz Trio has performed every night at… more

FestiGals

Aug 16, 2017
FestiGals hosts New Orleans Women's Weekend Experience - a celebration of women… more

House of Blues…

Aug 16 - Sep 27, 2017
Join us at the  Foundation Room at the House of Blues every Wednesday for… more

New Orleans Baby…

Aug 16 - 16, 2017

New Orleans Museum…

Aug 16 - 31, 2017
Returning this summer is New Orleans Museum Month, August 1-31, where being a… more

New Orleans Museum of…

Aug 16 - Oct 8, 2017
Jim Steg (American, 1922 -2001) was the most influential printmaker to be based… more

New Orleans Museum of…

Aug 16 - Oct 1, 2017
In celebration of beloved chef, civil rights activist, and art collector Leah… more

New Orleans Museum of…

Aug 16 - Sep 3, 2017
Pride of Place: The Making of Contemporary Art in New Orleans showcases… more

New Orleans Museum of…

Aug 16 - Oct 8, 2017
Paintings from throughout Scully's career are presented with a selection of… more

Storyville: Madams…

Aug 16 - Dec 9, 2017
Storyville: Madams and Music revives the sights and sounds of New Orleans's… more

The Historic New…

Aug 16 - Oct 21, 2017
The Historic New Orleans Collection's Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for… more

Trinity Kicks Off…

Aug 16 - Sep 3, 2017
To help beath the New Orleans' heat, Trinity is introducing new daily Happy… more

Heart of the House

Aug 17, 2017 - Jan 08, 2026
In The Voodoo Garden, All Ages. Heart of the House puts the spotlight on House… more

Lilith in Loa…

Aug 17, 2017
From Laurel Canyon to the West Village, Nashville to New Orleans, the LOA Bar… more

“Giants of Jazz: Art…

Aug 16 - Dec 17, 2017
This spring, art and music converge as The Historic New Orleans Collection… more

Cities of the Dead

A very famous writer, upon visiting New Orleans, said: "You can tell a great deal about a community by the way they honor their dead, and without meeting any of the people of New Orleans, yet I can tell you I know I'm going to like them, for very few cities that I have visited throughout the world honor the dead as they do here."

Most deceased here are interred above ground, a situation forced on the area because of the city's high water table and below sea-level elevation.

There are 42 cemeteries in the metropolitan New Orleans area. All feature family-built tombs capable of interring as many as a dozen deceased. The largest cemetery is Lake Lawn Metairie Cemetery and very definitely worth a visit to view incredibly beautiful tombs set in lovely garden areas and topped with handsome sculpture.

In the mid-1800s, this was the site of the Metairie Racetrack and Jockey Club. Legend is that an American millionaire named Charles Howard was denied admission to the clubhouse, his sin being that he was not a Creole. The miffed millionaire vowed to buy and bury the track and the club. In l872, the site became a cemetery and, in 1885, when Howard died, his eternal resting place was on the grounds of the former Jockey Club. His ornate mausoleum features a statue of a man with his finger to his lips, seeking an atmosphere of respectful silence for those in rest here.

At what was once the main entrance to Metairie Cemetery, you will find the largest of monuments at 85 feet tall. It is the Moriarity tomb. As the story goes, Daniel Moriarity, an Irish immigrant, became a very successful businessman. His beloved wife died in 1887 and Daniel set about to honor her in death like no other.

Although Daniel was successful in commerce, he and his wife could never break into New Orleans society, lacking the "proper" blood lines. Daniel had a friend design the impressive memorial to his beloved - a huge granite shaft topped with a cross of the same material. Daniel wanted his wife, in death, to look down her nose at those who had snubbed the couple for so many years. He told the sculptor he wanted four life-sized statues placed atop the monument, each facing a different direction, and representing the Graces of Faith, Hope and Charity. The fourth would honor Mrs. Moriarity.

Upon arrival from out-of-state of the monument, it was discovered that no local drayage company had equipment large enough to transport it. A railroad spur from the mainline had to be laid directly into the cemetery in order to complete the delivery. The first erecting firm went bankrupt, and a second was hired allowing for final erection of the huge structure.

A circular sidewalk was installed around the base of the monument consisting of stones from various states throughout the country, each weighing eleven tons. When the walk was completed, Mrs. Moriarity's remains were transferred from her original burial site.

The final cost was set at $l85, 000.00. Because of the couple's age differences, Mrs. Moriarity stipulated in her will that only the date of her death be shown, not wanting to give anyone the satisfaction of knowing how much older she was from her spouse. After the stonecutter inscribed the information given him by Moriarity, he realized the date he'd carved was one day off the correct one. He tactfully approached Morarity, admitting the error and offered to correct it for the small sum of $2.50. Grunting, Moriarity said, "The hell with it. I've spent enough already."

After Mrs. Moriarity's remains were interred under the monument, the widower called the contractor back to advise him that the cross was crooked and he would not pay one cent until it was corrected. The second contractor went back to work and, like the first, went into bankruptcy. Moriarity, meanwhile, moved to California for health reasons and, upon his death 36 years later, was buried alongside his wife.

The Moriarity monument is but one of many remarkable structures in Metairie Cemetery. Be certain your tour guide shows you the "Woman With the Lantern" tomb and the truly sad story of its construction.

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1
This cemetery was the fourth in New Orleans and was laid out in two squares. A third square was set aside for the burial of African-American Catholics. Such notable African-Americans as voodoo queen Marie Laveau, members of the Sisters of the Holy Family, and former mayor Ernest "Dutch" Morial are buried here.

Cemetery tours are conducted daily by a number of tour companies, one of which is the nonprofit group Save Our Cemeteries. 504-525-3377. Only guided tours are allowed in the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1.

St. Louis Cemetery No. 2
In the 1820s, the New Orleans City Council, following the belief that the contagions of yellow fever, cholera and other diseases were spread from cemeteries, wanted to find a new site for a cemetery farther removed from the center of population. The plot of land chosen was just outside of the French Quarter, in the historic Treme.

St. Louis Cemetery No. 3
St. Louis Cemetery No. 3 is located near the end of Esplanade Avenue, near Bayou St. John.

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
Located in what now is the heart of the Garden District, between Washington, Sixth, Prytania, and Coliseum streets, Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 is the oldest of the seven municipal, city-operated cemeteries in New Orleans. It is a non-segregated, non-denominational cemetery. There are immigrants from over 25 different countries and natives of 26 states.

This material may be reproduced for editorial purposes of promoting New Orleans. Please attribute stories to New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau. 2020 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130 504-566-5019. http://www.neworleanscvb.com/.