Covering a block inthe Gardens District of NewOrleans, a National Historic Landmark District, the cemetery's grid-like layoutmirrors the layout of the surrounding city. The cemetery took its name from theoriginal settlement of Lafayette, which over time was annexed by the boomingcity of New Orleans. Lafayette Cemetery No. 2 began in 1850 and is located justnorth of here.
Walk through thegates of the cemetery and slip back in time. Two avenues form a neat crossthrough the graveyard, making it easy to navigate. Wander through the rows oftombs and crypts. Their epitaphs trace the city’s history, from its Creolebeginnings, through periods of plague and war. Just like New Orleans, thisnon-denominational cemetery is a true melting pot the remains of immigrantsfrom over 25 countries are buried here.
The cemetery featuresvarious types of graves, from the simple “ovens,” or wall vaults, which linethe perimeters, to family tombs and group memorials. Keep an eye out for themonument to the deceased “woodmen of the world,” and the shared crypt of thecity’s “destitute orphan boys.” Interestingly, thisis regarded as one of the most haunted burial grounds in the United States.Make sure you take your camera you may photograph more than you planned on.Over the decades visitors have reported sightings of ghostly figures, feelingcold spots and hearing strange scraping sounds amongst the tombs. Little wondergothic fiction author Anne Rice has used the cemetery as a setting for severalof her novels.
Be careful where youstep as subsidence over the years has caused some of the monuments to sink,while others have been dislodged by the roots of ancient trees, giving thecemetery an eerie feel. The grounds have appeared in a number of films,including Interview with the Vampire and Double Jeopardy.
LafayetteCemetery is lovingly maintained by the Save Our Cemeteries Group, which runsinformative one-hour tours from Mondays to Saturdays. The cemetery is openevery day except Sunday. The St. Charles streetcar stops close by, and if youstill have an appetite after your visit, one of the city’s most popularrestaurants, Commander's Palace, is right across the road.