On the same day that I visited Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1, I also visited Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, also in the Garden District, and also creepily nicknamed the “City of the Dead.”
Roughly the size of one city block in New Orleans, Lafayette holds about 10,000 people and was first established in 1833. The cemetery was named after the old town of Lafayette, which was incorporated into New Orleans back in the day and it’s the oldest operating cemetery in New Orleans today.
It’s famous for it’s above ground tombs and mausoleums, some of which, like Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1, are slowly crumbling. Some notable residents of the Lafayette Cemetery include the Brunies (a famous jazz family), veterans of various wars, and Brigadier General Harry T. Hays, a confederate soldier during the Civil War. There are also 300 people who died of yellow fever buried here.
I can’t help but think the gate of Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 looks a lot like the infamous archway over Auschwitz. But maybe that’s just me.
I definitely regret not taking an official tour of both Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 and Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1, but maybe there will be a next time! However if you’re planning a trip, there are dozens of guided tours that you could take so I’d highly recommend it so you don’t miss a thing in these “cities of the dead.”