I gave you a little tease of my New Orleans trip last week, promptly got distracted and forgot the rest of my posts.
Believe it or not, I didn’t just go to New Orleans to enjoy beignets one morning then leave. Although if you’re thinking of doing that, you won’t be disappointed.
So, after eating our weight in sugary, fried pastries, we hit the street on to our next adventure. . .
To the city of the dead.
If you go to New Orleans, you have to do a cemetery tour. I don’t care if you like history, if you’re easily scared, if you think it sounds boring or any other excuse you can think of. You have to do one.
We visited the St. Louis cemetery, the older of the two where you can get tours, and to be fair, my photos don’t even do it justice. It’s utterly spectacular and like nothing I’ve ever seen.
New Orleans is built on a swamp. The waterbed is about 3 feet below the ground and is extremely active, meaning underground burials in New Orleans, not such a great idea unless you want it to perpetually look like zombies are popping out of the ground to attack you.
Ironically, the concept of above ground burials arose out of fashion (it was all the rage in Europe) not necessity. Whoever said that fashion doesn’t lead to great things was obviously lying.
A few years back, vandalism became excessive in the centuries. Tombs were desecrated (people actually broke holes in them and would pull bones out), grafitied and statues were beheaded make the cemeteries something straight out of your worst nightmare.
Each tomb belongs to a particular family, so when it gets destroyed, it is the financial responsibility of the family to restore it.
The cemeteries were closed to the public in response to the vandalism but eventually allowed in tour groups who pay annual fees.
We booked our tour through French Quarter Phantoms.
Our guide, Robin, was fabulous. Full to the brim with facts and dripping in sarcasm. The kind of person you could listen to for hours and then want to grab a drink at a local bar with. If you can request a tour with her, do it. Absolutely do it.
Robin also dropped the fact that the Weeping Angels were inspired by the statues in New Orleans cemeteries.
It goes without saying I adamantly refused to blink the entire tour.
I have so many amazing stories from the tour but I won’t spoil them for you. Just be sure to ask about the Italian tomb and who the first person to be placed in it was (hint, it rhymes with shmarcitect).
Leaving the land of the dead behind, we reentered the streets of living, as always, in search of something to eat.
We ended up at Domenica inside the Roosevelt hotel and passed away the early afternoon with pizza and bellinis.
Can you think of a better way to spend an afternoon than with champagne and cemeteries? I certainly can’t.