After the Great Fire of 1788 the city of New Orleans needed a new cemetery. St. Louis Cemetery #1 was built a year later. Since then it has become the most famous, or infamous burial grounds in New Orleans and holds over 100,000 bodies. Notable residents such as Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau, Delphine LaLaurie of LaLaurie Mansion fame and chess champion Paul Morphy were interned in the cemetery. Actor Nicolas Cage also purchased a plot in the cemetery. Contrary to reports his career was not buried there. Cage’s career died sometime in the late 90s. You will notice a lot of vaults in the cemetery. Traditional family vaults can be very small or large and extremely lavish. When someone in the family passed away they were placed in a wooden coffin and placed in an above ground slot in the vault where they were kept for a year and a day per tradition. In the New Orleans humidity the bodies pretty much baked until day 366 when the coffin was removed, and the bones were placed in a bag, marked and moved to the back of the vault. This was repeated when another member of the family died. Due to the fans of Marie Laveau that were constantly desecrating her grave you are now required to have a licensed tour guide to visit the cemetery. That rule took effect in 2015. Family members of those interred at St. Louis #1 can visit with a special pass. Some people believe that the spirit of Marie Laveau watches over her grave. Those who disrespect her have said to feel her slap them. There are also tales about people visiting the cemetery who are hit by small rocks thrown by someone or something.
Find out all about New Orleans withe the New Orleans Ghost Map with over 60 spooky places to visit you can explore the Crescent City at your pace.