”Bring Out Your Dead” Lafayette Cemetery #1 Tour
1 1/2 Hours
Small Group Tour
Lafayette Cemetery #1 is closed for repairs and plans to reopen have not yet been announced.
LAFAYETTE CEMETERY #1
Once formerly a part of the Livaudais Plantation, Lafayette Cemetery #1 has been used for burials sine at least 1824. Lafayette Cemetery #1 is the first and oldest municipal cemetery in New Orleans. The Cemetery accommodated interments of all people regardless of race, free or enslaved status, or religion, unlike the older Catholic and Protestant cemeteries, which were segregated.
Lafayette Cemetery was purchased in 1832 and established in 1833 in response to the thousands of deaths from Cholera. There are over 1,100 family tombs, 500 wall vaults, and a dozen society tombs. This is a semi-active cemetery. Burials still take place but there has to be an existing tomb. No new tombs are built.
“BRING OUT YOUR DEAD”
“Once again, citizens heard the dreaded call of “bring out your dead” given by cart drivers relieving residents of rotting corpses and hauling them to mass graves here and around the city.”
Cholera had never appeared in North America or the Western Hemisphere until 1832. Reaching New Orleans late October of 1832 it would kill over 4,300 people. It was an ugly, nasty, repulsive and terrifying death.
The Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1837 entered New Orleans in the vincinity of the Lafayette waterfront. It was first reported on August 19th, and by the the end of that month it was claiming 75 and 100 victims each day. They City Burial Grounds, as Lafayette Cemetery was often referred to, was hard put to find room for all the bodies. In 1847 the Lafayette City Council declared Lafayette Cemetery “full”.
The most terrible Yellow Fever outbreak came in 1853 and claimed in excess of 11,000 lives. As thousands died in the brief months of the Plague Season, New Orleans’ already scarce burial space was jammed beyond capacity. In 1856 Lafayette Cemetery was again declared “full”.
Today we have a Hurricane Season but prior to 1905 we had a Plague Seasons that ran from July to October.
Meet us directly across the street from the Cemetery’s main gate on Prytania Street – the starting point for your Lafayette Cemetery #1Tour. You will receive a detailed confirmation including date, time and map. Thank You!
The Savvy Native is a group of experienced local tour guides who were either born in New Orleans or wish they had been.