The St. Louis Cemetery consists of three cemeteries, and St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is New Orleans’ oldest and most famous resting place. On the National Register of Historic Places, the Roman Catholic cemetery was established in 1789, and most of the graves and vaults are above ground.
The final resting place of thousands, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 occupies one square block just outside the French Quarter. Many notable New Orleans residents are interred here, including Homer Plessy and Etienne de Boré. Famous voodoo queen Marie Laveau is also rumored to be entombed here.
Most tours of the cemeteries are offered as a part of city sightseeing excursions via bike or bus. A guided walking tour through the burial ground is a true trip through Louisiana history and the only way to enter St. Louis Cemetery No. 1.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Roman Catholic Archdiocese has closed St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 to the public due to a rise in vandalism. Visitors must be accompanied by a licensed tour guide.
- These cemeteries still host several funerals per year. Be respectful during an active burial.
- No pets are allowed on tours, with the exception of service animals.
How to Get There
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is located within walking distance of Treme and the French Quarter. The cemetery is accessible via the city's streetcars, buses, or by car, but since you are required to visit with a licensed guide, you may meet your party elsewhere and arrive at the site together.
When to Get There
New Orleans cemeteries are open daily but close weekdays around 3pm and even earlier on weekends. St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is only accessible to those on guided tours with licensed tour companies.
New Orleans cemeteries feature society tombs and wall vaults containing the remains of people who chose to be buried with their social organizations rather than their families. Examples include the French Mutual Benevolent Society, the New Orleans Musicians Tomb, and the Orleans Battalion of Artillery Tomb.