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City of the Dead (or Mortiphilia)

One of the most interesting sights (for those of us from further North) are the cemeteries of New Orleans. There are several tour services that can take you through one or more cemeteries. One of the more famous ones is the St. Louis cemetery near I-10. I didn’t go there. I went closer to where my hosts live and stumbled upon Hope Mausoleum.

mausoleumThe Light of Life

I didn’t know it was there at the time, but I stumbled on the Hope Mausoleum on my way to checking out a cemetery. When I noticed it, I simply wondered to myself about why there was such a large building along the busy Canal Street. The outside was a monumental concrete wall that stretched at least a city block in multiple directions. I spotted the name and decided to check it out. It was awesome.

Part of the mausoleum was actually a cemetery housed within the large walls that separated everything from the surrounding life. There were raised tombs and a few raised graves. It was interesting walking among the plots and thinking about the design of burial space. Yet, that wasn’t the most interesting part.

I moved through the cemetery to the mausoleum proper and beheld many a “stained” glass window set in small alcoves along a first and second floor of the impressively expansive building. The scenes ranged from natural to architectural. All of them were enchanting and lovely to see. I took pictures of almost every one of them. You can see them in my photo collection – link below.

cemeteryRequiescat In Pace

After checking out the mausoleum, I finally made it to my intended destination, the Saint Patrice cemetery. It was divided into no fewer than four sections thanks to the streets that cut through it. It also had raised tombs. There were so many plots, I only walked through cemetery section two.

One of my hosts explained to me why the adopted raised tombs as a burial method instead of simply burying their loved ones directly into the ground. Flooding. The water table is high enough, that under the right circumstances, you could end up watching grandma’s remains float over to somewhere else or at least resurface most unwelcomely.

See a list of tour services for cemeteries

See my mausoleum and cemetery photos

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