A Poignant Image Captured on a Collectible Fridge Magnet Photo
This lovely marble sculpture of a woman in mourning is but one of the many magnificent adornments on the tombs of St. Louis Cemetery in New Orleans, and is a perfect representative image to take home as a souvenir from Louisiana. One of the most popular types of tours in New Orleans is the cemetery tour, where knowledgeable local guides share some of the city's most notable legends and show you through the famous "Cities of the Dead."
Why Are New Orleans Cemeteries Called Cities of the Dead?
The above ground mausoleums and crypts look like rows and rows of miniature houses laid out like the streets of a city. Tombs are engraved with a family name and house the remains of generations of native New Orleans dead, hence the label, "Cities of the Dead."
Why Are the Dead Kept Above Ground?
It is a well- known fact that New Orleans is located on land reclaimed from the bayous with drainage and a levee system, so the land is all below the water table. Any hole you dig immediately fills up with water, and floods are a constant threat. One theory for the above ground tombs is that people were afraid coffins buried underground would fill with water and lift up out of the ground to float away.
However, the city was founded by both Spanish and French settlers who came from places where above ground burials were customary, so they could have just been following Old Country tradition.
Although there are other cities where there are special cemeteries that are tourist attractions for various reasons, but none so mesmerizing and beautifully adorned as the cemeteries of New Orleans. Elaborately carved statuary and sculpture enclosed by ornate ironwork fences demonstrate the special care New Orleans has always taken for their dearly departed.